The death penalty was once a very touchy subject, with many Americans for it and just as many against it. Nowadays, with the amount of data we’ve collected over the years, more and more Americans realize that the death penalty is an outdated concept that has done more harm than good, ultimately.
However, Ohio still has the death penalty for particularly violent crimes. But that looks to be changing in the near future. There is support for abolishing the death penalty in Ohio from both sides of the political divide, coming from the public, foreign advocacy groups, and more. As we’ll see, there are bills that are currently being discussed that may put an end to the practice.
To learn more about what is happening with the death penalty in Ohio, we will be diving into a brief history of the death penalty in Ohio to learn how it got to where it is today. Then we’ll look at the reasons why the change is being pushed for these days, as well as what is happening with the death penalty in Ohio today.
What is Ohio’s Relationship to the Death Penalty?
Ohio’s history with the death penalty goes back to the very origins of Ohio as a state. These were carried out by the local sheriff originally. Later on, just before the 1900s began, the method of execution was changed to electrification.
There’s a lot of fascinating reading to be had looking deeper into the history, but we don’t need to get into all of that. The important thing to remember is that the death penalty isn’t something that was invented recently or even in the last hundred years. It has been a part of our history for as long as we’ve had history.
However, that doesn’t mean that Ohio has actually handled that many executions. As of this writing, there have only been 393 executions in Ohio’s history. When you take into account that Ohio gained statehood in 1803, that equals an execution every six months or so.
In recent years, there have been a number of relatively high-profile botched executions that have helped to change people’s opinions about the practice. Additionally, it has proven to be more difficult to acquire the drugs used by the lethal injection process. The hiccup caused by supply shortages of the chemicals brought about a further discussion about the practice. All this discussion has started to gain some real ground toward forever changing Ohio’s relationship with the death penalty.
Why Would Ohio Abolish the Death Penalty?
There are quite a few reasons why Ohio is now looking at abolishing the death penalty. Some of the reasons are immediately fairly obvious, while others may be more shocking to those who haven’t had any experience interacting with the death penalty.
The most commonly discussed reason for abolishing the death penalty is that it is an outdated, barbaric system. This line of argument may invoke philosophical points, such as asking what the difference between murder and the death penalty is. Arguments of this nature can get quite heady and complex, though we don’t need to delve that deeply into it. What’s more important is the evidence that backs up this line of reasoning.
Execution is not supposed to be a violent affair. They were in the olden days of beheadings, but modern execution is supposed to be quick and fairly painless. Unfortunately, there have been quite a few examples of executions gone wrong. An execution on January 19, 2014, lasted for over eleven minutes. The execution was supposed to be quick and easy; instead, it was hard and horrible. Many people, even those whose loved ones were victims, consider this to be a problem.
It might be surprising to learn that some of the loudest, most pressing arguments against the death penalty come from people who were victims or the loved ones of a victim. Death sentences are constantly put off through long-lasting, continuing legal battles. Rather than seeing the person that victimized them go away to prison, this system ends up forcing victims to go over their trauma again and again.
There is also the fact that a lot of international businesses now operate in the state, and many of these are against the death penalty. Sticking with the death penalty would put this revenue at risk.
Finally, there have also been cases where the death penalty was used against falsely accused individuals. If the state can mistakenly put an innocent person to death, then the system may be to change. The ACLU certainly believes this, as a study they published showed that one in every six people executed has been found to be innocent.
What is Happening With the Death Penalty in Ohio Now?
Right now, Ohio still has the death penalty. However, House Bill 183 may change that. This bill is looking to put an end to the death penalty, and it has support from both sides of the political divide.
Introducing a bill and having that bill become law are two different things, however. It may take some time before we see whether or not the bill makes its way into law.
But even with the death penalty still in effect, Ohio has been shying away from it. The last execution in Ohio was in 2018. If things continue moving forward the way they have been, it just might be possible that 2018 represents the last execution Ohio ever orders.
What Should I Do If I’m Worried About the Death Sentence?
If you are worried that you could be facing a death sentence for the crimes you are accused of, then you need to reach out to an experienced and talented personal defense attorney today. They’ll be able to help you to formulate a plan of action to defend yourself against the charges you’re facing, whether that means fighting to prove your innocence or arguing the charges down to something that doesn’t put you at risk of receiving the death penalty.