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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

ABA Report Calls for Halt in Ohio Executions

From abanet.org:  After a 30-month review of Ohio’s death penalty system, a team of Ohio legal experts, working under the auspices of the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project, today issued a report calling for a temporary halt to executions in light of numerous problems the team uncovered. 

The team said that Ohio’s death penalty system is “flawed” due to inadequate procedures to protect defendants, including failure to require the preservation of biological evidence for as long as a defendant is on death row, failure to provide adequate legal services to all capital defendants and death row inmates, racial and geographic disparities in capital sentencing, and  insufficient safeguards to protect the rights of capital defendants and death row inmates with mental disabilities.

The team urged Gov. Ted Strickland to temporarily suspend executions to permit a “thorough review” of every aspect of capital punishment administration in the state.

"Ohio’s own experts have concluded that the state fails to provide adequate measures to protect defendants.  As has happened elsewhere, Ohio has exonerated five inmates who spent years on death row,” said ABA President William H. Neukom.  “The ABA agrees with the team’s view that nobody should be executed until the problems identified by these experts are addressed, and we urge a temporary halt to executions until fairness and accuracy are assured," he said.

The ABA neither supports nor opposes the death penalty, but it does urge a moratorium on executions until fairness and due process are assured in death penalty cases.  The Ohio report has not been presented to the ABA’s policy-making arm, the House of Delegates, and so does not constitute association policy. Rest of Article. . . Read Report. . . [Mark Godsey]

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