Ohio: Walk to Stop Executions!

From the website: Walk Against the Death Penalty:

On Sunday October 4, 2015, abolitionists from Ohio and beyond will begin a 7 day 83 mile walk from the Lucasville prison where death row inmates are executed to the Statehouse in Columbus calling for an end to capital punishment as proposed in two bills pending in the House and Senate. 

Those unable to participate in the full walk can join the final two hour leg in Columbus on Saturday, October 10, the World Day Against the Death Penalty, or attend the 12 noon rally at Trinity Episcopal Church, 125 E. Broad St. across from the Capitol.  

Keynote speakers include OJPC director David Singleton and two murder victim family members Sam Reese Sheppard, and OTSE President Melinda Dawson.

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Prosecutor Apologizes for Sending Innocent Man to Louisiana’s Death Row

March 27, 2015
From: Equal Justice Initiative

A.M. “Marty” Stroud III, the lead prosecutor responsible for sending Glenn Ford to death row for a murder he didn’t commit, apologized and called for abolition of the death penalty in an open letter published in the Shreveport Times.

Mr. Stroud wrote in response to the paper’s coverage of Mr. Ford’s struggle to obtain compensation for the nearly 30 years he wrongfully spent on death row. Mr. Ford was released on March 11, 2014, after the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office filed a motion to vacate his conviction and death sentence based on new evidence that someone else committed the crime. Louisiana law allows compensation of $25,000 a year capped at $250,000 for the wrongfully convicted, but prosecutors are opposing Mr. Ford’s request.

“Glenn Ford should be compensated to every extent possible,” Mr. Stroud wrote. “The audacity of the state’s effort to deny Mr. Ford any compensation for the horrors he suffered in the name of Louisiana justice is appalling.”

Read the rest and see the interview here.

Here is the open letter A.M. Stroud III wrote to the Shreveport Times.

Ohio’s top judge calls for death penalty review

From: Houston Chronicle
By Andrew Welsh-Huggins (AP)
Thursday, September 8, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s top judge on Thursday announced a committee will review the state’s death penalty law and determine if changes should be made, but with an important caveat: It won’t debate whether Ohio should have capital punishment.

The review, 30 years after Ohio enacted its most recent death penalty law, will make sure the current system is administered fairly, efficiently and in the most “judicious manner possible,” said Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.

“Is the system we have the best we can do?” said O’Connor, a Republican and a former prosecutor. “Convening persons with broad experience on this subject will produce a fair, impartial, and balanced analysis.”

The 20-member committee, convened by the Supreme Court and the Ohio State Bar Association, will consist of judges, prosecuting attorneys, criminal defense lawyers, lawmakers and academic experts.

After years of Democrats calling for such a review, as well as a moderate Republican colleague of O’Connor on the Supreme Court, it took the former prosecutor with a tough criminal justice reputation to put such a process in place.

House Democratic lawmakers tried four times in previous legislative sessions to create such a review, with success only once when conservative Republicans who oppose abortion and capital punishment joined them.

That provision lasted exactly one day, until the GOP-controlled Senate killed the idea.

Justice Paul Pfeifer, a Republican from Bucyrus, has called for such a review for years. In January, he made even stronger comments, saying the state should abolish capital punishment.

Pfeifer, who helped write the 1981 law as a state senator, has said for years he believes prosecutors were seeking the death penalty in cases such as domestic violence slayings that the law wasn’t meant for. Pfeifer said Thursday he was glad to hear O’Connor’s announcement but had no further comment.

O’Connor made it clear Thursday in the annual speech given by chief justices that the review won’t debate the law itself.

Instead, it will review Ohio’s current laws, practices elsewhere, data and costs. It will also review a 2007 report released by the American Bar Association that called for a moratorium while problems the report said it had identified were examined.

Read the rest here.

Senate Judiciary panel passes bill to eliminate the death penalty

UPDATED: Senate Judiciary panel passes bill to eliminate the death penalty

Read more: http://blogs.kansas.com/gov/2010/01/29/senate-judiciary-panel-passes-bill-to-eliminate-the-death-penalty/#ixzz0e6C87yX9

TOPEKA – The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill Friday that would abolish the state’s death penalty for crimes committed after July 1.

By a vote of 7-4, the bill now goes to the full Senate for discussion.

Senators had considered two bills: Senate Bill 208, which was debated last year, and Senate Bill 375, which replaces the death penalty with the crime of aggravated murder. The new crime comes with a mandatory life without parole sentence.

The committee tabled the first bill and moved forward Senate Bill 375.

Voting yes were Republican senators Dwayne Umbarger, Thayer; John Vratil, Leawood; Mary Pilcher Cook, Shawnee; Les Donovan, Wichita; Chairman Tim Owens, Overland Park, and Democratic senators Laura Kelly, Topeka and David Haley, Kansas City, Kan.

Voting no were Republican senators Jean Schodorf, Wichita; Derek Schmidt, Independence; Julia Lynn, Olathe and Terry Bruce, Hutchinson.

Schodorf said she was voting no in committee because she already knew she would vote that way on the Senate floor.

Schmidt, who is the chamber’s majority leader, urged the senators not to move the measure forward pointing out it was unlikely to succeed this year.

“The question is not is the death penalty going to be repealed this year,” he said. “The question is at what point does it stop this year.”

Others disagreed.

“People need to be able to review something as serious as a death penalty consideration because this is truly life and death we are talking about,” Owens said.

For more, read Saturday’s Wichita Eagle.

* By Jeannine Koranda

Read more: http://blogs.kansas.com/gov/2010/01/29/senate-judiciary-panel-passes-bill-to-eliminate-the-death-penalty/#ixzz0e6CGxYgw