Five years have passed since a statewide task force recommended improvements in how Ohio conducts the death penalty. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor initiated the effort, and the members performed the job well, generating 56 proposals for the courts and legislature. Unfortunately, a small fraction has been implemented, with state lawmakers proving especially lax in taking up the recommendations.
Even proposals overwhelmingly supported by the task force have been pushed aside. There is no better example of this practice than the recommendation to prohibit the execution of defendants suffering from a severe mental illness at the time of the crime. The task force gave its approval by a 15-2 vote. Yet the legislature has failed to act.