Ohio Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857, June 01, 2007, 03:56:48 PM

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Michael

I agree with you, but this judges had the possibility to slow all the pending executions down, just look at California (I think itīs the Morales case).

Michael
Iīm not sure if thereīs a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

gabmat

Ohio prosecutors say there should be no crying during closing arguments in death penalty cases
Associated Press
Last update: June 19, 2008 - 2:09 PM

HAMILTON, Ohio - Prosecutors say there should be no crying during closing arguments in death penalty cases. Jason Phillabaum, an assistant Butler County prosecutor, filed motions this week asking that defense attorneys be blocked from using emotional appeals to a jury during the trial and sentencing phase of an upcoming death penalty case.

"Specifically, defense attorneys have strategically been known to cry on cue and beg for their client's lives," according to the motions, which notes previous cases where defense attorneys have been admonished for crying in front of a jury during closing arguments.

The motions came following a trial last month in which attorney Greg Howard cried while urging jurors to spare his client, Harvey "Shawn" Johnson. Johnson received life in prison for the kidnapping and strangulation of Kiva Gazaway.

Howard will help represent James O'Hara in a death penalty case in August. O'Hara is accused of stabbing Stanley Lawson in a Middletown apartment complex.

Phillabaum and county Prosecutor Robin Piper declined to discuss the motions, but Piper said he thought a trained professional should be able to control emotions in court.

Howard called the motions "petty" and said he can't wait to argue against them in a July 18 hearing before Common Pleas Judge Andrew Nastoff in this southwest Ohio city.

"They want to kill my clients. They want to win at all costs," Howard said. "They are tired of losing, so they are trying to limit what I can say in my closing arguments."

He added that if he could cry on cue, he would be in Hollywood.

"It is emotional; you are trying to save your client's life. It just comes out," Howard said.

Source: http://www.startribune.com/nation/20570884.html?location_refer=Nation

Michael

I think itīs difficult to keep emotions out of the court...

Michael
Iīm not sure if thereīs a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

gabmat

I agree, Michael. But this is not about family and friends of victim and defendant showing their emotions. This is about lawyers. They are supposed to act like professionals. What if you saw a prosecutor cry while talking about the victim in a DP case? Don't you think his tears might affect the jury? A trial is supposed to be about the evidence. That does not include tears of the prosecutors or the defence.

"Your Honour, the People would like to submit Exhibit 52 into evidence -- a small vial containing the tears the DA cried when he learnt about the victim's suffering at the hands of the defendant."

Michael

Hello again gabmat! ;-)

I donīt think/hope that some tears wonīt affect the jury. They hear and see so much more things during a  trial.

Anyway, as it seems I donīt understand the news correct, I thought that no tears during the closing arguments allowed. From no one.

At least one question - why just only in DP cases?

Michael
Iīm not sure if thereīs a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

gabmat


I donīt think/hope that some tears wonīt affect the jury. They hear and see so much more things during a  trial.


Yes, but tears from defence attorneys are pretty unusual and so can have a big impact...


Anyway, as it seems I donīt understand the news correct, I thought that no tears during the closing arguments allowed. From no one.


Part of the article (underlining added by me):

... filed motions this week asking that defense attorneys be blocked from using emotional appeals to a jury during the trial and sentencing phase of an upcoming death penalty case...


At least one question - why just only in DP cases?


I agree, but (see the above quote from the article) their motion only mentioned DP cases.

Jeff1857

ELYRIA -- Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will, in another letter to the Ohio Supreme Court, said he still doesn't think Common Pleas Judge James Burge could be fair if he is a member of a three-judge panel hearing a death penalty case, despite Burge's promise to follow the law.

Burge had sent a letter to the high court saying he will follow the law if he stays on the panel appointed to hear the capital murder case of Manuel Nieves, 23. Nieves has chosen a bench trial and could receive the death penalty if convicted of killing Sam Walls in a drug-related robbery in August 2004.

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Will's second letter to the court, asking that Burge be removed from the panel, reiterated his arguments that it seems impossible that Burge could impose the death penalty to Nieves because Burge ruled earlier this month that Ohio's lethal injection protocol violates state law. Burge ruled that the protocol violates a law that guarantees a quick and painless death and that the state should only use one drug, instead of three, to kill condemned inmates.

''Now he (Burge) contends that he can simply disregard that ruling and impose the death penalty utilizing a three-drug protocol,'' Will said.

Will also repeated his argument that Burge should be disqualified from the Nieves case because he helped his former client, James Filiaggi, in trying to spare his life before he was executed in February 2007. Filiaggi was sentenced to die for killing his ex-wife in Lorain.

Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi plans to set Nieves' trial date after the Ohio Supreme Court decides whether or not to disqualify Burge.



http://www.morningjournal.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19804992&BRD=1699&PAG=461&dept_id=46371&rfi=6



Jeff1857

After more than a year of inactivity, the Death House at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility has been cleared to gear up for its grim activities once again.

Ohio now has five convicted killers awaiting execution dates.

The latest is Jeffrey D. Hill, 44, a Hamilton County man who stabbed his 61-year-old mother to death and stole her money to buy crack cocaine.

Also on the list: Gregory L. Bey, 52, of Lucas County; Kenneth Biros, 50, of Trumbull County; Richard Wade Cooey III, 41, of Summit County, and Jerome Henderson, 49, of Hamilton County.

The Ohio Supreme Court, which sets dates for executions, has not yet acted on any of the cases requested by county prosecutors. Typically, the court sets executions 90 days in advance, but the time period has varied.

The floodgates opened when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the lethal-injection process used by Ohio and other states is not unconstitutional. While the case was being litigated and decided by the court, Ohio and all other states with death-penalty laws had a de facto moratorium in place. Several states already have resumed lethal injections.

The last convicted killer executed in Ohio was Christopher J. Newton on May 24, 2007. He was the 26th man put to death since the state resumed capital punishment in 1999.

Ohio Public Defender Tim Young called all five requests "premature right now" because litigation is pending in federal court. He acknowledged that most deal with technical and timing matters.

"I think the Supreme Court is doing the right thing by waiting," Young said. "I see us clearing the calendar year before there is an execution in Ohio." He previously said an execution could happen as quickly as August.

New Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers, the former dean of the Moritz School of Law at Ohio State University, could face an execution before she leaves office following the Nov. 4 election. However, Young said that is unlikely.

Rogers was appointed by Gov. Ted Strickland to be attorney general following the resignation of Marc Dann in the wake of a scandal over sexual harassment, cronyism and misspending that washed over his office this year. Rogers will step aside shortly after a new attorney general is selected on Nov. 4.

Asked about her position on the death penalty recently, Rogers sidestepped offering a personal opinion, saying only that her office will "apply the law."

Another legal pitfall for prosecutors seeking the death penalty will be last month's ruling by Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge that Ohio's lethal-injection process is illegal because it does not guarantee a "painless" death as required by state law.

Ohio is the only state that has that requirement in law.

While Burge's ruling applied to two inmates only, defense attorneys are expected to file similar suits to piggyback on the decision.

Burge said the state should stop using a three-drug combination for executions and switch to a more reliable single anesthetic drug.

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/07/05/DEATH_DATES.ART_ART_07-05-08_A1_TPALR6T.html?type=rss&cat=&sid=101

Michael

Supreme court weighs execution-date requests
Several more expected in next few months


COLUMBUS After arguing with his mother in her Cincinnati apartment, crack-cocaine addict Jeffrey Hill stabbed Emma Hill 10 times in the chest and back, stole $20 and spent the money on cocaine.

He then returned to the apartment and stole another $80.

That was March 23, 1991. On July 1, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters asked the Ohio Supreme Court to set an execution date for Hill.

FOUR CASES PENDING

The pending request is among four before the state supreme court and one of several expected to come in the next few months.

Ohio has between 15 and 20 inmates who have exhausted their appeals and are probably eligible -- or "ripe" in the language of attorneys -- for an execution date, according to both the state public defender's office and the Ohio attorney general.

The number is unprecedented for a state that has executed 28 inmates since 1999 but which still has a majority of its original death row inmates behind bars. There are 177 men and two women currently on death row.

"We haven't had this kind of situaton in Ohio before where we've had this many cases all ripe," Matt Kanai, head of the attorney General's capital crimes unit, said Monday.

KENTUCKY APPEAL

The beginning of what could be a steady flow of execution requests began in April after the U.S. Supreme Court, ruling on a Kentucky inmate's appeal, upheld the constitutionality of lethal injection.

Up until that decision, the nation had experienced a seven-month unofficial moratorium on executions while the high court heard arguments in the case and made its ruling.

After the decision, the Ohio attorney general's office asked prosecutors to coordinate how they filed their requests for fear of swamping the state supreme court.

"We weren't really sure what the Supreme Court of Ohio would do if it received 16 execution requests in one fell swoop," Kanai said. "We tried to have the prosecutors exercise some discretion in avoiding that kind of logjam."

The result: County prosecutors have asked for execution dates in just eight cases since April.

TWO DENIED; TWO GRANTED

Two of them were denied, and two were granted: for Gregory Bryant-Bey of Toledo and Richard Cooey of Akron.

Cooey was executed last month for raping and killing two University of Akron students in 1986.

Bryant-Bey was executed Wednesday for killing and robbing a Toledo collectibles store owner in 1992.

The remaining four requests are pending before the Ohio Supreme Court.

State Public Defender Timothy Young said he's hopeful the court will not set too many dates too soon.

"I don't believe as a society we have a stomach for execution on top of execution on top of execution," Young said Monday.

"Each of these cases is such a momentous step," he said. "It seems to me you need to take each of those cases very individually and make sure you've considered all the facets of it."

DETERS' CASE OLDEST

Deters' request for Hill to be executed is currently the oldest by almost two months pending before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Hill's family, including three uncles and an aunt -- the siblings of Emma Hill -- are adamant they don't want Jeffrey Hill executed and have asked Deters not to oppose their nephew's request for clemency.

"It's doing the family no good to kill another family member because he made the mistake of being out there on crack cocaine," said Eddie Sanders, Jeffrey Hill's uncle.

Deters, a longtime prosecutor with a reputation for taking a hard line on death penalty cases, told the family he can't go along with their request.

He said he appreciates their concerns but "a jury composed of members of our community" sentenced Hill to death after hearing the details of the crime.

"As the prosecutor of Hamilton County representing the people of the State of Ohio, I am loathe to do anything to undermine the jury's deliberative judgment," Deters wrote the family in a July 24 letter.

http://www3.cantonrep.com/index.php?Category=13&ID=443069&r=18&subCategoryID=
Iīm not sure if thereīs a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

Michael

Ohio matches record-low 3 death sentences in '08

Ohio juries sentenced three people to death last year, matching the lowest number since the state re-enacted capital punishment 27 years ago.


Records show the number of people indicted with capital crimes in Ohio is also lower than in past decades.

Ohio has 179 people on death row, the lowest figure in several years. The state has executed 28 defendants since 1999.

Prosecutors attribute the decline in death sentences to reduced crime rates and court decisions that have narrowed the eligibility for the death penalty.

They also say the availability of a sentence of life without the possibility of parole is leading juries to sentence fewer people to death.

Another factor: what one veteran prosecutor calls the "CSI factor," or impatience on jurors' part when evidence at trial isn't as splashy as what they see on TV crime shows.

"You have juries who expect more, so you may not get as many people sentenced to death," Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins said Tuesday.

Ohio juries sentenced three people to death in 1982, the first full year the death penalty was in place after the state's enactment of a new capital punishment law the previous fall.

The number jumped to 16 in 1984 and hit a high of 24 in 1985.

Death sentences have been in the single digits in Ohio since 2003 when 12 sentences were handed out.

Last year's low figure is consistent with a deep national decline in death sentences.

North Carolina had just one death sentence last year, the lowest since the U.S. Supreme Court declared capital punishment constitutional in 1976.

Texas, with the nation's busiest death chamber, had 11 death sentences, tied for the lowest in the past 30 years.

Both states have enacted life without parole laws in recent years.

Nationally, preliminary figures show 111 death sentences last year, the lowest since 1976.

Death sentences in Ohio have been on a decline since 1996 when lawmakers gave jurors the option to sentence capital defendants to life without the possibility of parole.

In 2005, the law changed again, this time allowing prosecutors to seek a life without parole sentence without first seeking a death sentence.

That option made life without parole even more popular. The prison system admitted 104 defendants serving life without parole from 2005 through 2008, a 38 percent increase over the four years before the law took effect.

During the same time, prosecutors sought fewer death sentences to begin with in Ohio, from a high of 97 in 2004 to 69 last year, according to data analyzed by the Ohio State Public Defender's Office.

Before life without parole, some juries said they chose a death sentence because they worried a convicted killer would someday go free on parole, said Theresa Haire, deputy director of the Ohio Public Defender's office.

"Now that they have life without parole, they're more willing to impose that," she said.

She also said jurors have been influenced by increased publicity of innocent people found to have been wrongly convicted.

http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20090107/NEWS01/901070313/1002/NEWS01
Iīm not sure if thereīs a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

Jeff1857

Ohio's Death Row, once bulging with more than 200 condemned killers, is shrinking due to both executions and successful legal appeals.

The annual Capital Crimes Report released today by Attorney General Richard Cordray showed that 15 people got off Death Row last year.

Only two of them, Richard Wade Cooey II and Gregory Bryant-Bey, were executed. A third, James Taylor, died of natural causes.

Kenneth Richey was released as a result of a plea bargain.

Of the remaining 11 cases, two inmates had their death penalty sentences overturned and the others were sent down to lower courts for re-sentencing or new trials, Cordray's report showed.

At the same time, just three new death sentences were imposed statewide, one each in Mahoning, Summit and Wood counties. Lower numbers are a continuing trend. While there were 53 death sentence imposed between 2000 and 2008, more than twice that many, 123, were imposed from 1990 through 1999.

Death Row now has 175 inmates, although some of them are likely to be removed because they are awaiting re-sentencing or new trials. Most are housed at the Ohio State Penitentiary at Youngstown, with some at the Mansfield Correctional Institution.

The report listed 21 inmates -- up from 16 in the report a year ago -- who are considered closest to execution because they have completed all federal and state legal appeals. None of them are from central Ohio.

One of them, Brett Hartman of Summit County, was scheduled to be executed yesterday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville. However, a three-judge federal panel intervened to stop the execution and Cordray and Summit County Prosecutor Sherry Bevan Walsh decided not to file an immediate appeal to re-start the execution clock.

The annual update on capital punishment is required by law to be sent by April 1 to the governor, the Ohio Senate president and the Ohio House speaker.

Cordray reported that 28 capital cases are pending in the state court system, with 118 pending in federal courts. That compares with 44 and 136, respectively, a year ago.

Ohio has executed 28 men since resuming capital punishment in 1999 after a 36-year hiatus. A national legal fight over the constitutionality of lethal injection, the only method of execution in Ohio and most other states, resulted in an unofficial 18-month moratorium on executions that ended last year when the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for lethal injections to resume.

Several legal issues are still tangling the system, including a case ripe for a decision in U.S. District Court in Columbus that questions the legality of lethal injection. That appeal was filed by Kenneth Biros of Trumbull County, one of those closest to execution.

DNA testing has also played a role. Federal courts have ordered DNA testing of crime scene evidence in eight cases, and the state has done testing in four others. One condemned killer, Jerome Campbell of Cincinnati, had his sentence commuted to life in prison by former Gov. Bob Taft after DNA testing showed blood on his shoes was his, not the victim's.

About half of all inmates on Death Row are black, with 45 percent white and about 4 percent another race. The average age of the condemned men, plus one woman, is 44.7 years. The average time spent on Death Row is 13.6 years.

Of 245 murder victims, roughly half were women, 20 percent were children and two-thirds were white, according to the report.


http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/04/01/cap_crime.html?type=rss&cat=&sid=101

Moh


Jeff1857

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray says the death penalty appeals process is still too long and sometimes defeats the possibility of justice being done.

Cordray tells The Associated Press Wednesday that, even if lengthy appeals result in a new trial, it's difficult to feel justice can be achieved because so much has changed over time.

Cordray also says it's a bogus argument to say the death penalty should be eliminated because cases take too long and cost too much.

Cordray, a Democrat, says there are plenty of participants in the system doing their best to delay cases and it's not justifiable to then complain about the length of appeals.

Cordray's office planned later Wednesday to release Ohio's annual report on capital punishment.

http://www.wfmj.com/Global/story.asp?S=10111179

podmornica



The materials were given to Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge on Wednesday in the challenge filed by two murder suspects facing death penalty trials. It's the first time the state has released such information.

The judge gave a copy to defense attorneys involved in the challenge but agreed with a state request to withhold the materials from attorneys handling other death penalty cases.



OK, I'm a little confused here (not difficult to do these days).  How does a Common Pleas judge have any control over the constitutionality of the death penalty for the entire state?  He might be able to play around in his own county, but he's a local yokel, and shouldn't have any influence on the entire process.

Then again, I moved out of Ohio 27 years ago, when I joined the Navy and haven't been back much since.  I'm legally a Florida resident now.  Maybe things have changed in the Buckeye State.

vikkiw47

[COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray says the death penalty appeals process is still too long and sometimes defeats the possibility of justice being done.
Cordray tells The Associated Press Wednesday that, even if lengthy appeals result in a new trial, it's difficult to feel justice can be achieved because so much has changed over time.

Cordray also says it's a bogus argument to say the death penalty should be eliminated because cases take too long and cost too much.

Cordray, a Democrat, says there are plenty of participants in the system doing their best to delay cases and it's not justifiable to then complain about the length of appeals.
Cordray's office planned later Wednesday to release Ohio's annual report on capital punishment.
http://www.wfmj.com/Global/story.asp?S=10111179
[/quote]  Well he is right the appeals do take way to long and the time constraint do need to change for sure . 5 years is long enough for justice to be done.
Justice is not about bringing back the dead. It is not about revenge either. Justice is about enforcing consequences for one's own actions to endorse personal responsibility. We cannot expect anyone to take responsibility for their own actions if these consequences are not enforced in full.

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