FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Abraham Bonowitz
561-371-5204 – [email protected]
Ohioans call on Governor DeWine to postpone executions, grant clemency
COLUMBUS, OH—Jan. 18, 2019—Ohioans to Stop Executions calls on Governor Mike DeWine to postpone executions until the General Assembly addresses deficiencies already identified by the Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio State Bar five years ago.
“Today we call on Governor DeWine to take action where his predecessors failed,” said the Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan Jr., chairman of the board of Ohioans to Stop Executions (OTSE) and executive director of the Ohio Council of Churches. “Having lost a loved one to murder myself, I understand the trauma and empathize with the family of Richard Myers. What we victims’ families really need from our new governor is to have confidence he will put our needs first. That’s why we’re asking him to wait for the legislature to address victims’ needs before executing.”
The call to action comes the same day as the Ohio Parole Board recommended against clemency for death row prisoner Warren K. “Keith” Henness.
The pro-life governor now has to decide whether or not to carry out the execution of Mr. Henness on February 13. The execution is the first of at least 25 scheduled into the year 2023.
“Governor DeWine’s first execution is a case where lawyers were completely inadequate, where there is lingering doubt about guilt and where evidence was intentionally destroyed by investigators. We elected Mike DeWine to fix these kinds of problems. He can partially do that by commuting the sentence of Keith Henness,” said Sullivan. More information about the Henness case is available here.
From 2011-2014 the Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio State Bar Association jointly studied the death penalty system. A task force issued 56 recommendations to ensure fairness and accuracy in the death penalty system. To date, the legislature has failed to act and make the needed fixes, most which plague death cases with regularity.
70 percent of the problems identified by the Ohio Supreme Court Joint Task Force of the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty are all present in the Henness case. “When death cases go this far beyond the pale, the fairest and most judicious outcome is a commutation,” said Sullivan. “Guilty or not, no one should be executed under a system that is acknowledged to be so seriously flawed.”