WYSO

Death Penalty

Ohio's largest anti-death penalty group wants more recommendations for changing the state's capital punishment law to be enacted.

Ohioans To Stop Executions says lawmakers have only approved four of 56 proposals made by an Ohio Supreme Court task force in 2014. The organization says in an annual report released Tuesday that six more are pending in the Legislature but have yet to receive support in both the House and Senate.

The report also says prosecutors sought the death penalty in 26 cases last year, five more than in 2014.

The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a prosecutor's request to set an execution date for a Mexican national convicted of killing four members of his girlfriend's family and sentenced to death in three of the 1991 slayings.
 
Mexico opposes setting a date for Jose Trinidad Loza, saying he was never allowed to consult with a Mexican consulate and was the subject of bias early on, including a crime scene detective who used an ethnic slur to describe him.
 

The state has pushed back execution dates for a dozen condemned killers.

Ronald Phillips was set to die on January 21, but his execution has been pushed back almost a year, to January 12, 2017. His is the first of 12 execution dates to be delayed.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says in a statement that it continues to try to find legal ways to get the supply of drugs it needs. Other states with lethal injections are having similar problems finding the drugs they use. 

Prison
Foreverdigital

LUCASVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Death penalty opponents have begun a week-long walk from a prison in Lucasville to the Statehouse to protest capital punishment.

The 83-mile walk started Sunday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, where Ohio executes prisoners.

The walk is sponsored by Ohioans to Stop Executions and other groups. They plan to finish the protest in Columbus on Saturday, which is World Day Against the Death Penalty.

The federal government is warning Ohio not to try to bring in drugs from other countries to carry out executions.

Ohio temporarily stopped executions and switched back to the single drug sodium thiopental for future ones after the January 2014 death of Dennis McGuire, who was injected with a two drug combination and appeared to gasp and choke during his execution, the longest on record in Ohio. Sodium thiopental is in short supply in the country, so last year the state applied for a license to import it.

Renewed Effort Underway To Abolish Ohio's Death Penalty

Jul 16, 2015
Ohio House of Representatives

One state lawmaker is finding new allies in her fight to get rid of the death penalty.

State Rep. Nickie Antonio has been down this road before. The Democratic lawmaker from Lakewood has tried several times to pass a bill that would eliminate the death penalty.

“The state of Ohio needs to take the compassionate pragmatic and economically prudent step to abolish capital punishment,” Antonio said.

Judge Throws Out Ohio Inmates' Lethal Injection Lawsuit

Feb 19, 2015

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by four death row inmates who challenged a new Ohio law that shields the names of companies providing lethal injection drugs.

The inmates argue the law violates free speech rights. They sought to stop the provisions from taking effect in March.

But Judge Gregory Frost ruled Tuesday that the inmates lacked standing to challenge the law. He wrote that the law doesn't suppress speech or the ability to oppose the death penalty.

Family Of Executed Ohio Inmate Drops Civil Rights Lawsuit

Feb 3, 2015
Justin Masterson

The family of an Ohio inmate whose troubling execution more than a year ago led to an unofficial state moratorium on capital punishment is dropping its civil rights lawsuit.

The adult children of executed inmate Dennis McGuire asked a federal judge Monday to dismiss the lawsuit filed against the state and an Illinois-based drugmaker.

McGuire snorted and gasped as he was put to death last year with a never-tried 2-drug combination. The lawsuit said McGuire suffered "needless pain and suffering."

A photograph of Justin Back, signed in memorial by friends and community members, hangs in the home of Sandy and Mark Case.
Jerry Kenney/WYSO

A bill known as “Justin’s Law” will be introduced to the Ohio legislature soon.  The bill would allow for stiffer penalties for adults and juveniles convicted of aggravated murder.

About a year a ago, two 19-year-old men broke into the Warren County home of 18-year-old Justin Back. They stole some minor possessions and murdered Back.    

Ohio won’t be able to execute inmates until at least the spring, because the state is changing its execution drug combination again. The state is running out of the drugs it uses to put inmates to death.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s 40 vials of midazolam will expire April 1 and its 60 vials of hydromorphone will expire June 1. Corrections Director Gary Mohr says the state will no longer use that controversial two-drug mixture. It was used in last January’s lethal injection of Dennis McGuire, who appeared to gasp and choke during his 20-minute execution.

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