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February 5, 2015

Imaginging a (federal and mandatory?) death penalty only for mass shooters who kill more than five persons

A helpful student alerted me to this notable accounting of mass shooting in 2014 in the United States.  Though I will not vouch for all the data, I still think it is notable (and not all that surprising) that this internet accounting of mass shootings lists 283 mass shootings in the US (roughly 5 every week of the year), and yet only 11 of these mass shootings involve five or more deaths (less than one per month on average).

In addition to finding these data fascinating, I continue to encourage folks to cull through this list of the 53 men  who have been executed in Ohio in the modern era or this latest report from the Ohio Attorney General about the 140+ men on Ohio's death row to see how my proposed reform, if applied retroactively, would impact those past cases. 

February 5, 2015 in Death eligible offenses, Death penalty history, Ohio news and commentary | Permalink


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I spent some time reading through much of the Capital Crimes Annual Report and found it to be a great resource. A few of the facts that I found to be more interesting were:

- Governor Kasich commuted only 1 fewer death sentence than Governor Strickland in his 4 years
- 100% of the Ohioans to be executed since 1981 were male
- While exactly 50% of the victims of executed inmates were male and 50% were female
- The average execution took 16.5 years
- My home county of Medina has only had one capital case since 1981, and it was just last year

While I didn't go through every inmate, after a review it seems like only a few inmates would be eligible for a mandatory death penalty for killing more than 5 people, (I found only 1, Samuel Moreland). It seemed like most of the people on death row killed one or two people close to them, but in an exceptionally heinous way. Even if you expanded the hypothetical to include the other categories you mentioned in class (e.g. killing a police officer, or killing while in prison for a homicide offense) only a handful of addition inmates would qualify. Interestingly, a few of the inmates would double-qualify, e.g. Jason Robb who killed a corrections officer during the Lucasville riots, while serving time for voluntary manslaughter. If the hypothetical mandatory death penalty were in place, how would it handle people who double or triple-qualified?

Posted by: Tamas Tabor | Feb 18, 2015 3:18:23 PM

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