Home Politics Reps. seek to ban Ohio’s death penalty

Reps. seek to ban Ohio’s death penalty

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In Ohio, the death penalty’s days could be numbered.

As the state struggles to supply the poison needed for lethal injections, Reps. Dan Ramos of Lorain and Nickie Antonio of Lakewood announced that they would be working together to end the death penalty in the state during a news conference on Tuesday.

“It is time for Ohio to abolish this archaic punishment,” Antonio said during the conference. “The many flaws surrounding the death penalty show the punishment to be expensive, impractical, unjust, inhumane and erroneous.”

The two oppose the death penalty primarily because they believe it unfairly targets the poor and minority groups and certain geographic areas.

“62 percent of death row inmates came from seven of the state’s 88 counties. Your geographic area shouldn’t determine whether you’re sentenced to death or life in prison,” Ramos told The New Political.

Ramos and Antonio also oppose the death penalty due to new developments in DNA evidence testing, and because of the aforementioned shortage of lethal execution drugs. The duo says that criminals would receive a life sentence without parole instead of capital punishment.

“The death penalty comes at a great cost to taxpayers, and leads to a difficult, often lengthy trial process,” Ramos said.

Ohio is one of 32 states in which capital punishment is still legal. Currently, 139 people are under a sentence of death within the state.

Passing in the law in a Republican-controlled General Assembly will not be an easy task, but recent news might give Antonio and Ramos a boost. The supply of the drug pentobarbital, used to administer the lethal injection, is running low because the European company that supplies it says the drug is not intended for capital punishment and has blocked sales.

To continue instituting the death penalty, Ohio would have to use an untried mix of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a morphine derivative. No state has used this mixture to put prisoners to death, causing Gov. John Kasich to postpone all executions until a new, proven method of lethal injection can be found.

There have been previous attempts to ban capital punishment in Ohio, one such attempt as recent as 2011, but the recent news and support comes from groups such as the Catholic Conference of Ohio, the Temple Israel of Columbus, and St. John’s Episcopal Church in addition to groups such as Ohioans to Stop Executions. A poll conducted by Gallup in October of this year found that 60 percent of Americans supported the death penalty, the lowest level since 1972.

 

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