HB 136, a bill that would exempt individuals with serious mental illness from receiving a death sentence, was signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine on January 9, 2021. Ohio is now the first state in the country to adopt this type of legislation.
You can click here to find your legislator to thank them for their leadership on this issue.
What HB 136 does:
- Gives protection for individuals with one of four diagnoses: Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and Delusional Disorder;
- Allows for conviction and legal responsibility;
- Follows the same legal process as landmark US Supreme Court cases;
- Gives judges discretion;
- Fixes flaws with capital trial mitigation phase.
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Background on mental illness reform
The Ohio General Assembly is considering SB 54 and HB 136 which would prohibit death sentences for individuals with serious mental illness. The bill was first recommended in 2014 by an Ohio Supreme Court Joint Death Penalty Task Force in collaboration with the Ohio Bar Association.
Reforms were introduced in 2015 and 2017. Now a bi-partisan reform is poised to move forward. The reforms are widely supported by mental health advocates, faith-based groups, editorial boards and the majority of Ohioans.
Also see what former Ohio Governor Bob Taft has said in The Washington Post
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