Ohio’s execution process, death row inmates face uncertain future

With Ohio’s execution process tied up in court, 153 inmates on death row face an uncertain future.
The 2011 Capital Crimes report, issued today by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, summarizes the status of the death-penalty process, including the 12 inmates with scheduled execution dates and 46 inmates lethally injected since 1999. The report, required annually by state law, goes to the governor, state lawmakers and the courts.
What DeWine’s report does not say is when, or if, executions will resume. Reginald Brooks, a Cuyahoga County man who murdered his three sons in their beds, was the last person executed, on Nov. 15 last year.
Since then, the state has been tied up in federal court on a legal challenge to the lethal injection process. U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost has been highly critical of the state’s lethal-injection protocol and stopped an execution; Gov. John Kasich postponed others, anticipating federal court entanglements.
In general, the appeals process in capital punishment cases takes so long that 22 Death Row inmates died before their execution, DeWine said. That number increased by one this week with the death by natural causes of Billy Sowell, 75, of Hamilton County.
DeWine’s report covered the calendar year through Dec. 31, 2011.
DeWine reported there are 14 convicted killers with scheduled death dates, although the number is now 12 with two having been postponed. The death dates run through Jan. 16, 2014.
The 46 men who have been executed were responsible for killing 76 people, 17 of them children.
Source: Columbus Dispatch, March 31, 2012

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