Welcome to Ohioans to Stop Executions
Momentum is with us! Maryland Repeals the Death Penalty, 6th State in 6 Years
May 2-- Today is a historic day for the movement as Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signs SB 276, ending the state's death penalty. He is expected to sign the bill around 10:30 a.m. Governor O'Malley has taken a strong lead for repeal and when the bill passed the Maryland House and Senate, the citizens of Maryland knew it was only a matter of time. Maryland becomes the 18th state overall and the sixth state in six years to repeal the death penalty.
Diann Rust-Tierney, the executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, said, "With the bill becoming law, the practice of capital punishment is further isolated to only a handful of jurisdictions across the country. The momentum we have seen in recent years, in Maryland and beyond, is a clear indicator that public sentiment about the death penalty, and more broadly what makes effective policy on public safety is shifting. Laws, such as the abolition bill in Maryland, reflect these changing priorities and our underlying community values of fairness and justice."
To read the Baltimore Sun's coverage of this historic moment, click here.
OTSE's Executive Director Featured on The Diane Rehm Show
May 2-- The national spotlight fell on Ohio as our executive director, Kevin Werner, was featured on Nation Public Radio's The Diane Rehm Show.
Mr. Werner, along with Dick Dieter from the Death Penalty Information Center, Joshua Marquis of the National District Attorneys Association, and Scott Shane, a reporter for the New York Times, discussed the death penalty.
Click here to listen.
2013 Innocence Tour Launches to Overwhelming Success
April 9-- Ohioans to Stop Executions and Witness to Innocence are sponsoring a statewide tour featuring three men who have been exonerated from death row: Derrick Jamison, Dale Johnston, and Joe D'Ambrosio. Their stories highlight one of the most compelling reasons for repeal in Ohio: wrongful convictions. The tour opened with a lecture by Sr. Helen Prejean at Denison University. To read more about this incredible launch, click here for the Newark Advocate's article.
All the speaking events are free and open to the public with the exception of the Capital University, which required an R.S.V.P. OTSE and Witness to Innocence are thrilled that we have already seen such an overwhelming response to this tour.
For the full schedule of speaking events, please click here.
If you have questions or need more information, please contact Allison Smith: email@example.com/513.846.9777.
Update 4/12/13: Click here to read The Columbus Dispatch's article about our stop at Capital University.
Ohio's Push for Physician Assistance in Executions Highlights Broken System
February 15—The State of Ohio asked the Supreme Court’s Death Penalty Task Force to provide input on changing the law to allow doctors to participate in executions.
Rev. Will Mebane, Ohioans to Stop Executions board of director’s chair said, “We respect the opinion and policy of the Ohio State Medical Association and their affirmation that physicians are prohibited from participating in executions.”
This latest move by the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections exemplifies the fundamental problems with Ohio’s death penalty system.
“Ohio’s capital punishment system is much more broken than we ever imagined. This move by the state is a watershed moment for Ohioans to have the discussion about whether we should be in the business of killing people. It’s just not working, especially when safe alternatives exist,” said Kevin Werner, executive director of OTSE.
Ohio’s death penalty has been plagued with many significant issues ranging from sentencing innocent people to death to an inability to follow execution rules and procedures in the death chamber.
States around the country are confronting outdated and dysfunctional death penalty systems, although none are in as much disarray as Ohio’s system. Fourteen state legislatures have proposals to abandon the death penalty all together including Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oregon, Texas and Washington.
“Our state leaders should take this moment to stop and think about what we’re doing and the lengths some are willing to go to maintain an untenable system riddled with error,” said Will Mebane, OTSE Chair.
New Board of Director officers elected
February 6-- Ohioans to Stop Executions has announced that Rev. Canon Will Mebane is the new Chair of the Board of Directors.
Born and raised in Durham, N.C., Rev Mebane has demonstrated a consistent commitment to social justice issues but has a particular passion for repeal of the death penalty. In addition to his work on the board of Ohioans to Stop Executions, Rev. Mebane has galvanized individuals in Northeastern Ohio to support repeal through his work as Canon of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland and as a member of Greater Cleveland Congregations’ strategy team.
Rev. Mebane’s appointment comes at a particularly exciting time for Ohioans to Stop Executions as 2013 marks the 25th anniversary for the organization. "I intend to have the shortest tenure and be the last chair of OTSE," Rev. Mebane said. "Our vision is to move Ohio into the 21st century with a justice system that is fair, accurate, and serves the needs of victims' family members."
"I have not always been opposed to capital punishment," he said, "but as my faith deepened and I became better informed about the costs associated with death penalty cases, the lack of closure experienced by the loved ones of murder victims, the arbitrary application of capital punishment, knowing that innocent individuals have been sentenced to death row and that we have already likely executed innocent defendants, my convictions and beliefs on this issue evolved. I look forward to working with citizens, organizations, political leaders and all persons of goodwill in preventing the continuation of such a travesty."
The executive director of Ohioans to Stop Executions, Kevin Werner said, "We look forward to the enthusiasm and experience Will brings to our board. He's ready to roll up his sleeves and do the work necessary to make repeal a priority for Ohio leaders in the coming years."
Also elected to the executive committee of the board were Melinda Dawson as Vice-chair, Lucy Webb as Secretary and Marilyn Hoffman as Treasurer.
To read a personal message from Rev. Mebane, click here.
Ohio Justice calls death penalty unconstitutional
January 25--Ohio's newest Supreme Court Justice wrote a dissenting opinion in the case of State v. Wogenstahl calling the death penalty in Ohio unconstitutional.
Justice O'Neill cited the 1972 US Supreme Court decision of Furman v. Georgia in his opinion and the failed execution attempt of Romell Broom in 2009.
The Justice concluded, "The time to end this outdated form of punishment in Ohio has arrives. While I recognize that capital punishment is the law of the land, I cannot participate in what I consider to be a violation of the Constitution I have sworn to uphold. I must respectfully dissent."
To read Justice O'Neill's opinion, click here.
The Atlantic:"Can Ohio Handle the Truth About the Tyrone Noling Case?"
On January 8, 2013, the Ohio Supreme Court held oral argument to consider legal issues surrounding Tyrone Noling’s request for DNA testing. Mr. Noling has spent more than 15 years on death row for two murders he did not commit. No physical evidence ties Mr. Noling to the murders of Cora and Bearnhardt Hartig in 1990; all of the principal witnesses against Mr. Noling have recanted; and evidence withheld at trial points to credible alternative suspects. As the following piece from The Atlantic points out, while the Court should grant DNA testing, Mr. Noling should also receive a new trial to consider all of the evidence of innocence in his case.
Click here to read Andrew Cohen's compelling piece about the Noling case in The Atlantic.
2012 in Review: The Top 10 Highlights in our Fight to End the Death Penalty in Ohio
This year, Ohio witnessed enormous strides in our mission to end the death penalty in our state. The link provided details those accomplishments, many of which were made possible through your investment in abolition.
Click here to read a .pdf version of our Top 10 Highlights from 2012!
Will you make an investment to help end the death penalty in Ohio today?
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