Ohio should temporarily halt executions to permit a thorough review of the state’s death penalty system, the American Bar Association urged yesterday, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. A 30-month study by a team of ABA lawyers and judges identified dozens of flaws in Ohio’s legal process, including racial and geographic disparities, inadequate defense and access to evidence, and executions of the mentally ill. The study said the chance of getting a death sentence in Hamilton County is 2.7 times higher than in the rest of the state. Further, a convicted killer from the Cincinnati area is 3.7 times more likely to be sentenced to die than a convicted killer from Cleveland and 6.2 times more likely than one from Columbus. Two executions have occurred in Ohio since Gov. Ted Strickland took office in January.
Eight states have been studied by the ABA’s Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project, which used 93 legal “protocols” to score capital punishment. Ohio complied with only four of the 93 protocols, said Phyllis Crocker, associate dean and professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and chairman of the nine-member ABA study team.