Friday, December 27, 2013

Ohio: Clemency Record of Gov. Kasich

The Columbus Dispatch reports Gov. John Kasich has :remained consistent in flexing his clemency powers in his third year in office" meaning that he has acted "conservatively" in most cases and with "unusual consideration" in one death-penalty case. According to the Dispatch Kasich "disposed" of 391 clemency requests and, along the way, granted clemency in 22 instances - or 5.6 percent of the cases. Although he "allowed" four executions, he made an "unprecedented decision" to postpone a fifth case seven months so the prisoner's "nonvital organs could be harvested for transplanting as he requested."

The clemency process, in Ohio, is described as follows:
Ohio governors have nearly unlimited executive-clemency power, enabling them to stop or postpone executions, commute or reduce sentences, and grant pardons. The only requirement is that the Ohio Parole Board must have first made a recommendation in each case. 
Kasich's overall record is described as follows:
All 22 of the clemencies Kasich approved were pardons in old cases, some going back as far as the 1970s and 1980s. Pardons allow individuals to clear their criminal record. In his first two years as governor, he approved 29 of 640 cases he decided, less than 5 percent. Former Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, approved 20 percent of 1,615 clemency requests he handled between 2007 and 2011. Most involved low-level, nonviolent offenses, as well as five death-penalty commutations. Former governors George V. Voinovich, who served from 1991-98, and Bob Taft, 1999 to 2007, each approved less than 10 percent of the clemency requests they received. James A. Rhodes approved clemency in 56 of 320 cases, or 17.5 percent, in 1982, his last full year in office. All three governors were Republicans. Only Kasich, Strickland and Taft faced life-or-death decisions as governor. No capital cases made it to the desks of Rhodes, Richard F. Celeste and Voinovich. 
See full story here.

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