Ohio has removed 20 inmates from death row since 2003 because investigations or evidence raised questions about their guilt, they were found to be mentally disabled or governors granted them clemency, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Another five men who were removed from death row in the 1970s when Ohio briefly abolished the death penalty have been exonerated and released during the past 12 years. There were another 28 men spared from execution during the same period whose cases involved constitutional violations and procedural issues.
All of this has contributed to a slowdown in executions. Last year, 35 people were executed across the U.S., the lowest number in 20 years. While Ohio has executed 53 since 1999, it put to death only four in the past two years. The next execution is set for January 2016. The legislature should address death penalty issues but not abolish it, says Sen. Bill Seitz. “I won't say never, but right now there is no way (abolishing it) is going to happen,” he said. “But if we're going to retain the death penalty, and I'm firmly committed to its retention, we ought to take away most of the serious objections.”