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Death penalty should be abolished in Ohio

DEAR EDITOR:

In the May 1 editorial, the editorial board missed the mark by suggesting Ohio follow South Carolina in reinstating the firing squad and electrocution as execution methods because of Ohio’s inability to obtain lethal injection drugs.

To be clear, a South Carolina court already has issued a stay blocking the state’s attempt to carry out an execution by firing squad. Substituting inhumane execution methods subject to legal challenges would be a huge mistake.

The editorial board also suggests putting the issue to voters, while the state Legislature is actively debating death penalty repeal via House Bill 183 and Senate Bill 103. Contrary to the editorial board’s view of the issue being a “never-ending divide,” both bills have broad bipartisan support and support from across the ideological spectrum. HB 183 recently received its fifth committee hearing, more than any previous repeal bill.

Interrupting the legislative process now would be another mistake.

The editorial also asserts delayed executions deny closure for co-victims. Take it from folks like Jonathan Mann and Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan Jr., both co-victims, who say executions would not help their families heal. Capital cases are lengthy and cost Ohio taxpayers as much as $16 million per case — that money could be used to fund services for victims’ families and crime-prevention programs.

Vitally, 11 Ohioans — 1 in every 5 sentenced to death — have been exonerated, and the state experienced five horribly botched executions from 2006 to 2017.

For all of these reasons, Ohio should join the 23 other states that have abolished capital punishment instead of pursuing other execution methods, as the editorial recommends.

SEAN McCANN

ACLU of Ohio

Columbus

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