Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hot Off the Presses

Ohio's current death penalty law took effect on October 19, 1981.  It's been amended since then to make it possible to kill more people, but that's when it began.
If you've been asking yourself
Gee, where can I get my hands on a book that describes how the law works and tell me about everyone who's been sentenced to death under it?
I want to know about the crime and what's going on with the appeals and just how darned long it's been since the guy got sentenced.  And really, I want to know about all of them - the ones who've been killed and the ones who just died and the ones who got off the row because some lame-brain judge chickened out or because our governors haven't got the balls to kill.
And of course the ones we're not killing nearly fast enough.
Well, the Ohio General Assembly wants to know, too.
So there's this law that requires the Attorney General to prepare a report every year.
Give us all the dirt, directed the General Assembly.
And every year, right at its statutory due date of April 1, the AG does just that.
The statute requires
(1) An annual capital case status report prepared pursuant to division (B) of this section shall contain all of the following information that pertains as of the thirty-first day of December of the calendar year covered by the report to each individual who was sentenced to death pursuant to sections 2929.02 to 2929.04 or 2929.06 of the Revised Code for an aggravated murder committed on or after October 19, 1981:
(a) A citation to and brief summary of the facts of each case in which the individual was sentenced to death pursuant to sections 2929.02 to 2929.04 or section 2929.06 of the Revised Code for an aggravated murder committed on or after October 19, 1981;
(b) A statement as to the individual’s present legal status;
(c) A summary history of the individual’s legal actions to vacate, reverse, or otherwise be relieved from the sentence of death described in division (C)(1)(a) of this section, including, but not limited to, motions to vacate the sentence of death, appeals, petitions for postconviction relief, and petitions for habeas corpus relief filed with a court of this state or a court of the United States under section 2929.05, 2953.21, or another section of the Revised Code, the Ohio Constitution, federal statutes, or the United States Constitution;
(d) Any other information that the attorney general determines is relevant, including, but not limited to, a tentatively scheduled date for the execution of the individual’s sentence of death in accordance with section 2949.22 of the Revised Code.
This year, including the cover, the Table of Contents, and a glossary at the back, the thing is a hefty 354 pages.  I confess, I haven't read them all.  I've read enough, though, to recognize that it's remarkably informative in its fashion.
  • Want to know which men had been removed from death row because of judicial determinations that they had mental retardation? There's a list.
  • Want to know which of the men on death row cheated the executioners by dying first? There's a list.
  • Want to know who had made requests for DNA testing to the state courts? There's a list.
  • And if you want to know how many days it was from the day Lawrence Reynolds was sentenced to die until he was killed, that's there, too.
There's a grim fascination in all of this.  And if the information is helpful to you, it's neatly collected.
Of course, there are a couple of errors I noticed, but that's a given in any almanac.
I suppose you can buy a bound copy from some state office somewhere if you want to display it on your coffee table.  Or you download it here from the AG's website. Or you can just read it here.

2010 Capital Crimes Report

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