Since 1885, Ohio has executed almost 400 persons and 154 people are currently on death row, making it one of the largest death rows in the entire country. Methods of execution have varied from hanging, the electric chair, and, beginning in 2009, lethal injection.
Only two years passed until Ohio reinstated the death penalty (1974) after the US Supreme Court’s decision in 1972 which declared several states’ death penalty laws unconstitutional. Executions did not begin again until 1999.
In 1991, Gov. Richard Celeste commuted the sentences of eight inmates on death row, citing a “disturbing racial pattern” in sentencing. Concern about wrongful convictions also prompted the General Assembly to pass a criminal justice reform bill in 2010 related to DNA evidence.
The Buckeye State has also had its share of exonerations of innocent persons, including, most recently, Joe D’Ambrosio who was released in 2012, 23 years after he was convicted.
In March 2011, HB 160 was introduced in the Ohio General Assembly to end the death penalty; sponsor testimony was given in April. Gov. John Kasich recently commuted a sentence to life without parole and postponed several executions due to questions about the death penalty procedures.
CMN State Spotlight – September 2013
“Ohioans to Stop Executions recently renewed its call for a moratorium on executions in light of the Slagle case in August. Tragically, Billy’s situation demonstrates the utter failure of the death penalty system. He committed suicide in his cell just hours before his attorneys could tell him life-saving news: His death sentence was most likely going to be vacated by the courts due to an undisclosed plea deal 26 years ago.”
CMN State Spotlight – April 2011
“Each diocesan social action office is active, both at the Catholic Conference of Ohio level and with Ohioans to Stop Executions, in advocating an end to the death penalty. Several diocesan social action directors are lead coordinators of local OTSE chapters.”