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January 19, 2007

Interesting Ohio developments

I predicted in class yesterday that this weekend might bring some interesting Ohio capital action, but our new Governor did not even waited for the weekend.  As discussed here, Gov. Strickland late Friday signed warrants that delay the executions of three Death Row inmates who were scheduled to receive lethal injections in January or February. 

The Governor's official statement and the full text of the warrants can be found here.  Here's the money paragraph:

During my tenure as Governor, before I allow an execution to proceed, my staff and I will have conducted a comprehensive, thorough and searching review of the case to determine if any exercise of executive clemency is appropriate. The brief time I have been Governor has not allowed me sufficient time to conduct that type of review and there is not sufficient time before these scheduled executions to complete that type of review.

Of course, the place to go to get all the details (and the likely storm of new coverage) is the Ohio Death Penalty Information blog.  I will be very interested to see whether this decision is applauded or criticized by other state politicians and the media throughout the state.

January 19, 2007 in Ohio news and commentary | Permalink


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I find it surprisng that there has been little to no reaction to Strickland's decision. If I'm missing an editorial, someone please let me know.

Posted by: Tiffany L. | Jan 23, 2007 2:51:51 PM

I have to agree with Tiffany. People have such strong views on the death penalty. Plus, lately, each execution in Ohio has received a fair amount of attention - at least locally. I'm surprised the news media outlets did not jump on this.

Posted by: Jeff M. | Jan 24, 2007 11:56:41 AM

I'm sure this is exactly the reaction Strickland sought. He was able to at least put off the executions without suffering repurcussions in the press. It seems to have proven an effective political move. I'm curious as to others' thoughts on governors issuing moratoriums to consider the death penalty process as a method of stopping executions while avoiding the political fallout.

Posted by: Kurt C. | Jan 24, 2007 1:57:52 PM

Maybe I am misunderstanding the role of the governor, but I find it a little disconcerting that clemency decisions rest so heavily on the politics of our governor. The fact that clemency decisions are made by one governor, but then those same situations could be decided differently by the next one, seems to undermine the seriousness of the death penalty in general. Maybe there need to be some kind of guidelines that governors should follow in reaching their decisions?

Posted by: Shoshana | Jan 24, 2007 7:29:53 PM

Previously, our class and our blog discussed Governor Strickland’s delay of executions in Ohio. It had been mentioned that there had not been a lot of coverage of this action by Gov. Strickland.

So to my surprise, when I grabbed a local weekly paper this week, I found the cover story to be about Gov. Strickland’s delay of executions. In The Other Paper, a local Columbus weekly newspaper, the cover page reads, “NO MERCY. Don’t be confused by those delayed executions. Ted Strickland still supports capital punishment.” To illustrate the bold, large orange headline, there is a picture of a perplexed-looking Gov. Strickland above a picture of a gurney bed equipped with arm and leg restraints.

The article gives some brief background on former Gov. Taft’s death-penalty policies, including the reinstatement of the death penalty under his watch and the 24 executions that Gov. Taft oversaw during his administration. In turning to its discussion of Gov. Strickland, the article mentions a few points about Gov. Strickland that I did not know and that I found interesting. Gov. Strickland is an ordained Methodist minister and a licensed prison psychologist; and to paraphrase the author, traits that might make him question the morality of the death penalty and make him more sympathetic to the condemned, respectively. Yet several quotes from the governor himself solidify his belief in the validity of the death penalty and his desire to review the death sentences pending before him, yet with an unsentimental eye.

Yet to me, the most interesting part of the article was the interview with James Filiaggi, a death row inmate convicted of murdering his ex-wife. Filiaggi comments that he does not believe the death penalty has any deterrent effect, nor do any of his fellow death row convicts. The article then ends with a sentimental quote from Filiaggi about how the “state’s going to get their justice, going to make [his] daughters orphans in the name of justice.” Nevermind that he is the one that took his daughters to the half way point by murdering their mother. But anyways…the best part of this whole thing, is that The Other then on page 14 has an article titled “Death row man ‘appalled’ by Ohio State’s bowl loss.” What? The reporters interview on death row moved from the death penalty as a deterrent to his temporarily-halted death sentence to OSU’s bowl game performance and his Super Bowl predictions? I found this comical (is that an appropriate word?), or at least odd. At least Gov. Strickland’s delay of execution allowed Filiaggli to see if his Super Bowl prediction was correct.

For the cover page article, see: http://www.theotherpaper.com/
For the article on Filiaggi’s review of OSU’s bowl game performance, you have to actually get the print edition (p14), because I cannot find it on the website, nor in the section on the website titled, “Only in PRINT.”

Posted by: Caitlin C | Feb 6, 2007 10:49:08 PM

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