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Voices of Experience on the Death Penalty Forum

September 6, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

As the execution of Cleveland area death row inmate Gary Otte approaches, Ohioans to Stop Executions (OTSE) will feature “Voices of Experience on the Death Penalty” at 7pm on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, at the Old Stone Church, 91 Public Square, in downtown Cleveland. This event takes place as Ohio has resumed executions after a three and a half year hiatus with the executions of 26 Ohio death row inmates scheduled over the next several years. The public is invited to this free event.


Featured Speakers Include:

  • Judge John J. Russo, Presiding and Administrative Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Cuyahoga County
  • Judge Michael Donnelly, of the Common Please Court of Cuyahoga County  (Please note: Judge Russo and Judge Donnelly appear in their roles as members of the Supreme Court Task Force on the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty and will be addressing their work on the Task Force and the Task Force recommendations. They do not take a position on capital punishment or on individual cases.)
  • Kwame Ajamu – One of Ohio’s nine death row survivors, who along with Wiley Bridgeman and Ricky Jackson, was exonerated in 2014 after having been sentenced to die for crimes they had nothing to do with. Ajamu is Board President of the national organization of death row exonerees, Witness to Innocence
  • LaShawn Ajamu – Co-Chair of OTSE Murder Victim Families Support Project
  • Abraham Bonowitz – State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator for Amnesty International USA


In the 3.5 years prior to Ohio’s resumption of executions in July, there has not been a spike in violent crime in Ohio or nationally. No prisoners on Ohio’s death row have escaped or killed anyone in prison, and the public is not clamoring for a resumption of executions. In fact, dangerous criminals are being held accountable and the public is being kept safe from them without resorting to executions. Nationally and in Ohio, the use of the death penalty is trending downward. Meanwhile, the legislature has yet to consider most of the 56 recommendations of the Supreme Court Joint Task Force on the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty. These recommendations were intended to ensure fairness and accuracy in Ohio’s death penalty. To date, most have not been discussed in any legislative forum.

WHO: Ohioans to Stop Executions and speakers with direct experience with the death penalty

WHAT: Public Forum on the Death Penalty

WHEN: 7pm, Wednesday, September 6, 2017

WHERE: The Old Stone Church, 91 Public Square, Cleveland

To schedule advance interviews and for further information, please contact Hannah Kubbins, hkubbins@otse.orgor 740-877-7390


The Old Stone Church
91 Public Square
Cleveland, OH 44113 United States
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