Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Death Penalty Needs Re-Examination

Death Penalty Needs Re-Examination
Dayton Daily News, Jeffrey Gamso

ACLU of Ohio legal director Jeff Gamso submitted this letter to the editor, calling for Governor Strickland to examine the fairness of the death penalty system in Ohio.

Thanks to the Dayton Daily News for its timely editorial on the growing number of people who are realizing that the death-penalty system is broken and in drastic need of review (”Good to see facts influencing views,” Jan. 10).

Before another execution in Ohio, newly elected Gov. Ted Strickland must make it a priority to form an independent commission to examine the fairness of the death-penalty system in Ohio. Following a report by The Associated Press in 2005 that found that Ohioans were more likely to receive the death penalty based on wealth, race and geography, the new state government should feel obligated to study these serious results.

In addition, incidents such as the botched execution of Joseph Clark in May 2006 have called into question the use of lethal injection. While courts address the important issue of whether this method is cruel and unusual, it would be unconscionable for the state to proceed with further executions.

Strickland should show the courage to examine the findings of relevant studies, and put an end to executions until the system is proven fair to all.

Jeffrey M. Gamso
Mr. Gamso is legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio

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