Criminal Justice

ABA Prez Seeks Ohio Death Penalty Halt

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After a 30-month study, a group of legal experts associated with the American Bar Association called today for a temporary moratorium on enforcement of the death penalty in Ohio until a “flawed” criminal justice system can be corrected.

Inadequate legal representation, among other problems, means that the interests of many defendants are not properly protected, according to the study and a Chicago Tribune article on the call for an Ohio death penalty moratorium.

“Ohio’s own experts have concluded that the state fails to provide adequate measures to protect defendants. As has happened elsewhere, Ohio has exonerated five inmates who spent years on death row,” said ABA President William Neukom in a written statement. “The ABA agrees with the team’s view that nobody should be executed until the problems identified by these experts are addressed, and we urge a temporary halt to executions until fairness and accuracy are assured.”

Although “the ABA neither supports nor opposes the death penalty, … it does urge a moratorium on executions until fairness and due process are assured in death penalty cases,” the press release continues. “The Ohio report has not been presented to the ABA’s policy-making arm, the House of Delegates, and so does not constitute association policy.”

The study was conducted by the ABA Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project.

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