Ohio – Today Ohio Attorney General released the 2022 Capital Crimes annual report. The report gives details on how people on Death Row are handled.
At present, an inmate on Ohio’s Death row spends an average of 21 years on death row, because of the multiple avenues of appeal. Plus the unavailability of execution drugs under the current protocol, no death row inmates face imminent execution. Most likely the inmate will die of suicide or natural causes before an execution.
According to the report, the 128 people that are currently on death row, in Ohio will spend between 128 million and 384 million to not achieve its purpose. People who oppose the death penalty want it abolished altogether people who are for the death penalty want a timely and effective penalty. Neither is accomplished.
Since 1981 when Ohio enacted the death penalty law until 2022 336 people have received a death sentence. Five of these people received two death sentences resulting in 341 death sentences, but only 56 of those sentences have been carried out. Almost the same amount of inmates have died of natural causes or suicides (38) or had sentences commuted (21). Nine have been removed from the sentenced because they were intellectually disabled and ineligible for the death penalty. Three have been removed because of serious mental illness. 39 mental illness petitions have been filed in 2022.
83 death sentences have been removed by judicial action resentencing or release. Most were removed because of legal errors such as ineffective assistance of counsel, Brady violations, juror errors, or appellate court determinations that the aggravating circumstances of the crime did not outweigh the mitigation factors beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather that showing a flaw in the system these factors show that the appellate process is working as it should to prevent injustice.
Just one death row inmate, Dale Johnson, the pre-DNA case was removed from death row for reasons that can be fairly attributed to his actual innocence of the double homicide of what he was convicted.
Currently, 128 people with (130 death sentences) are on death row, sentences have been delayed because Ohio currently lacks the means of lethal injection, the only means allowed by Ohio law, or inmates are in a lengthy appeal process.
The average age of a person on death row is 54.82 years
The average age of sentencing is 33.95 years
Average days on death row 20.78 years
The average time on death row for the person executed is 17.19 years
Also, the acceptance and accelerating use of DNA evidence in murder cases since the late 1990s has brought scientific certainty to determinations of guilt and innocence. In short, much of the concern about capital punishment is based on the miscarriages of the past that have been eliminated by judicial safeguards and improvements in scientific investigative tools
What is lacking is the political will to make a decision: Either make capital punishment an effective tool for justice or eliminate it altogether.
Until that decision is made, this system is a testament to government impotence. At a time when faith in society’s institutions is at an all-time low, the failure of the capital-punishment system could be Exhibit A.
The 2022 Capital Crimes Report is available on the attorney general’s website.