As Courts Consider Challenges, OH Death Row Becomes a Bottleneck


A backlog is forming on Ohio’s death row while officials wait for courts to rule on the state’s capital punishment law, reports the Associated Press. Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann says in a report to lawmakers it’s unclear if the state will have any executions soon. There are 184 inmates on Ohio’s death row. The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case over the constitutionality of lethal injections. Other legal challenges are delaying court cases. Until those are resolved, it appears Ohio will not put any inmates to death.

Ohio executed two inmates last year. Four people were sentenced to death last year. Since 1999, when Ohio renewed executions after more than three decades, only one year had fewer executions – 2001, when there was one. Sixteen inmates are considered closest to execution, according to Dann’s annual Capital Crimes report. But the report does not predict when those executions will occur. Last year, five inmates joined a lawsuit filed by Richard Cooey, an Akron man convicted of murdering two women in 1986. That lawsuit claims Ohio’s lethal injection procedure is cruel and unusual punishment. Twenty death row inmates have challenged the injection method.


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