Death Penalty

Initial reviews of a lengthy execution several weeks ago found no reason to change the way Ohio puts condemned prisoners to death.

The reviews, required by prison rules, found that the state execution policy was followed, and execution and medical team members did what they were supposed to.

The state is still planning a longer review of Dennis McGuire's Jan. 16 execution looking at specific things that happened during the procedure.

Federal public defenders who represented an Ohio killer put to death with a new lethal injection method are denying the condemned inmate was coached to fake suffocation.

The lawyers say it appears death row inmate Dennis McGuire may have misunderstood a lawyer's request to communicate truthfully what was happening to him during the execution.

Federal public defender Allen Bohnert's statement released Tuesday also renewed a call to Gov. John Kasich to impose a moratorium on executions.

A civil-rights organization is asking Ohio Gov. John Kasich to immediately halt executions after a condemned inmate gasped and snorted last week as an untested drug combination was used to put him to death.

The ACLU of Ohio made its request to Kasich on Sunday, noting Ohio has five upcoming executions scheduled.

Death row inmate Dennis McGuire was executed Thursday. And it was the longest execution since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999. McGuire's adult children said it amounted to torture and his family says they're suing.

Reaction is still coming to last week’s problematic and controversial execution, one of the longest ones on record in Ohio. And the troubles that Ohio has had in carrying out executions has led one lawmaker to propose adding to the audience of those witnessing the lethal injection process.

A convicted killer from western Ohio became the first person ever to be executed with a two-drug mix that the state of Ohio adopted as its execution method late last year.

The execution of 53 year old Dennis McGuire began with him telling his family he loved them and thanking the family of his victim, Joy Stewart, for a letter they sent him. Columbus Dispatch reporter Alan Johnson says McGuire closed his eyes, and then seemed to have trouble breathing.

There’s another bill in the Ohio House of Representatives to abolish the death penalty in the Buckeye State.

An annual report that looks at Ohio's capital punishment system says 128 inmates sentenced to death over the past three decades have avoided their sentence through court action, commutations or dying of natural causes.

The report by Attorney General Mike DeWine says the state sentenced a total of 316 inmates to death from 1981, when Ohio's current death penalty law was enacted, through 2012.

Eighteen inmates have been spared by Ohio governors, 24 died in prison and eight were found ineligible for execution because they are mentally disabled.

The number of prisoners on Ohio's death row is decreasing as new death sentences are outnumbered by inmates who are executed or die from other causes or are freed through clemency or appeals.

An Ohio Supreme Court committee studying the state's capital punishment law plans to vote on recommendations today requiring the collection of data to detect racial bias in death penalty cases.

The data would include a review of past cases as well as collecting information in the future on all homicides that might be eligible for capital punishment.  Other recommendations would require prosecutors, lawyers and judges involved in death penalty cases to be trained to protect against racial bias.

A state Supreme Court task force analyzing the effectiveness of Ohio's capital punishment law plans another
meeting today as part of its year-long review.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor convened the task force while making it clear it won't debate whether the state should have the death penalty.

The panel has discussed whether Ohio should consider a statewide approach to charging murder defendants with death penalty charges to avoid disparities that arise from county to county.

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