The Majority of Ohioans Want to End the Death Penalty
By: Peggy H
Ohioans To Stop Executions (OTSE) is a coalition of individuals and organizations working to reduce the use of – and ultimately, once again – end capital punishment in Ohio. Ohio had reinstated the death penalty in 1974, but the law was struck down as unconstitutional in 1978. The current law went into effect in 1981. OTSE was founded in 1988 and has worked to raise awareness and education around state executions. Ohio resumed executions in 1999.
Ohioans are ready to repeal the death penalty. A recent poll showed that only 30% of Ohioans still support the death penalty as an appropriate punishment to aggravated murder. We know that the death penalty is a failed policy that is not an effective response to violence, nor does it help victims’ families heal. We know the death penalty costs taxpayers untold tens of millions of dollars more than alternatives. We know that innocent people have been and will continue to be sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit.
In 2001, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit noted the racial imbalance on Ohio’s death row as “glaringly extreme” and “to say the least, extremely troubling.” However, it was unable to take action due to prior rulings by the United States Supreme Court that restricted court considerations of racially discriminatory patterns in death sentencing.
The bill to end the death penalty in Ohio’s House, HB 183, has had four hearings while the Senate’s bill, SB103, has only had two. The last hearing for SB103, the strongly bipartisan bill that would end Ohio's broken death penalty, happened in June of 2021.
Republicans such as former Ohio Governor Bob Taft, great-grandson of President William Howard Taft, and former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro have publicly opposed the death penalty. Taft questioned the effectiveness of the death penalty as well as geographic and racial disparities. The former Speaker of the House in Ohio, also Republican, Larry Householder, wants the legislature to reconsider the law because of the cost of executions and the failure of the state to obtain drugs.
Further information is on OTSE’s website: http:/www.otse.org. If you want to help eliminate the death penalty in Ohio, please call your state senator and state representative. Tell them to support SB103/HB183 and repeal the deeply flawed and expensive death penalty in Ohio.
For those living in Springfield:
Senator Bob Hackett (614) 466-3780
Rep. Kyle Koehler (614) 466-2038