Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Ohio Governor Bob Taft's decision to follow the Parole Board's recommendation to delay the September 20 execution of John Spirko (as blogged about here) has triggered debate about the delay's impact on the future of capital punishment in Ohio. The delay is based on the state presenting information of questionable accuracy during Spirko's clemency hearing.
Ohio Northern CrimProf and capital punishment expert Victor Streib believes that the delay is unlikely to have a broader impact because Taft's decision is specifically related to the facts of the Spirko case rather than Ohio's capital punishment policies in general. He commented that at best, "maybe there’s sort of a warning here that, 'Make sure what we say in these hearings is accurate.'"
Ohio State CrimProf Douglas Berman has a different view. He believes the delay could reduce the state's credibility in future clemency hearings. "It will not only lead the parole board and maybe even the governor to be suspicious of the evidence they get from the attorney general, but will provide lots of fodder for defense attorneys to say over and over again, 'Well, I know the prosecutors say that, but they said that kind of stuff before and they were not playing above board,'" he said. Cantonrep.com's full story... [Mark Godsey]