Showing posts with label Ohio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ohio. Show all posts

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ohio: From the Office of the Governor

Governor Ted Strickland today announced clemency decisions for 63 pending applications carried over from 2005 and 2006, and 233 applications recommended by the Ohio Parole Board in 2007 ... The governor’s office estimates that in excess of 1,000 person hours have been spent reviewing the cases announced today. Says Strickland:
“I believe the clemency power should be used judiciously to give a second chance to those who have demonstrated they deserve it, and to modify the unusually long sentence that is out of sync with the norm. I do not intend my clemency decisions to be seen as a determination that mistakes were made by judges, prosecutors, police officers or others in the criminal justice system. These decisions are another part of the overall system of justice that attempts to hold individuals responsible for their behavior while recognizing that ours is a society able to forgive, and welcome back, those who demonstrate they have earned, and can responsibly handle, society’s mercy and forgiveness.”

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ohio: Waiting on the Governor

This article from the Columbus Dispatch gives a semi-inside look at clemency in the State of Ohio. The Ohio Parole Board has unanimously recommended clemency for Bradley Tapp, but the request sits in a pile of 712 applications dating back to 2005. Governor Strickland has delayed executions several times and commuted two death sentences. But, according to the Dispatch, he has not acted on any other requests "a break with the practices of past governors."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ohio: Hearing Scheduled

WYTV 33 ABC reports here that Kenneth Biros "is remorseful, has shown spiritual growth and has been a model prisoner." As a result, Biros has obtained a hearing before the state patrol board. Prosecutor Dennis Watkins opposes clemency for Biros, however, and calls his case one of the very worst that he has been associated with - Biros raped, tortured and murdered then dismembered his victim. Body parts were then scattered throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania. Biros' execution date had been set for Dec. 8.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ohio: Request

This story notes that an Ohio woman, whose great-aunt was murdered 15 years ago by Lawrence Reynolds Jr., is asking the Ohio Parole Board to deny Reynolds' request for clemency. He is currently scheduled to be executed in early October. The clemency application materials suggest the murder was committed "by an alcoholic with no plans to kill, who was looking for money to buy alcohol." The request is thus for a life sentence without the possibility of parole. A prosecuting attorney argues, however, that the murder was quite calculated and cold-blooded. The article provides more detail on Reynolds' past and the circumstances surrounding the murder.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ohio: Request

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's has this article on Romell Broom's bid to have his death sentence commuted to life in prison. Broom's lawyers say their client did not receive a fair trial when he was charged with the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of a 14 year old girl back in the 1980s. More particularly, they claim Cleveland police withheld evidence that may have had an impact on the outcome of the trial. Much of this information relates to drug and alcohol use by the victims and the victim's level of sexual activity. The Plain Dealer reports Broom had actually served time for raping a 12-year-old girl. The parole board will make a recommendation to Gov. Ted Strickland next Friday.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ohio: Denied

The Columbus Dispatch reports Gov. Strickland has decided not to spare the life of Jason Getsy. In doing so, he also rejected a rare 5-2 recommendation for clemency from the Ohio Parole Board. Getsy's attorney notes Strickland followed the board's recommendation for clemency in a separate death penalty case in February and is "remarkably disappointed." Strickland has granted clemency only twice since taking office in 2007. See story here.

Ohio: The AG Speaks

In a five-page opinion, the State's Attorney General, Richard Cordray, is urging Governor Ted Strickland not to grant clemency to Jason Getsy. Cordray argues "the purpose" of executive clemency is "to grant mercy where it is warranted, and to correct injustices that cannot be or are not corrected by the judicial branch." See story here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ohio: Disparate Sentencing and the Pardon Power

In the recent report of the State's Adult Parole Authority, two dissenters made the following statement in the case of Jason A. Getsy:
There has been much discussion by the courts and this Board regarding proportionality review and disparate sentencing. "Proportionality, as defined by the Supreme Court, evaluates a particular defendant's' culpability for his crime in relation to the punishment that he has received." There have been some death sentences struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court "not because they were disproportionate in comparison to sentences received by their similarly situated defendants, but because of what the Court deems to be the inappropriateness of the sentence in relations to the particular characteristics of the crime and the criminal at issue.
If PardonPower understands the construction of this theoretical straight jacket correctly, then critics of the Board's recent recommendation of clemency believe proportionality considerations are (or should be) limited to 1) individual sentences or 2) similar individual sentences in separate cases. If, however, 5 individuals are found guilty of conspiring together to commit a single criminal act, four are fined $32 and the fifth is sentenced to be hanged, then there is nothing to see. There no red flags worthy of the attention of appellate courts. Everything is in order. At the very most, we have what may be an "unfortunate circumstance"! Well, that is some theory!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ohio: Inside the Getsy Clemency Recommendation

On July 9th, the State's Adult Parole Authority met to consider the case of Jason A. Getsy. The seven-member body recommended clemency for Getsy, who has been in prison for some 13 years now, but is scheduled to be executed next month. Why was clemency, in the form of a life sentence without the possibility of parole, recommended to the Governor?

First, it was noted that Getsy "cooperated completely" with the investigation of the murder. At trial, the jury was "limited" in their ability to consider Getsy's psychosocial history and such information could have affected the mitigation/sentencing phase of the trial. It is said that Getsy has taken "full responsibility" for his actions and has "continuously expressed remorse" for the victims and their family. He also has a record of "excellent institutional adjustment" (suggesting he would "do well in the general population"). Such a record might very well shed some light as to the real nature of the relationship between Getsy and his codefendants - a topic of considerable debate.

Ohio: Opposition to Clemency

The Ohio Parole Board voted 5-2 that a reprieve be granted for Jason Getsy, who is scheduled to be executed next month. The Tribune Chronicle reports, however, that the "elected county prosecutors all across the state" are trying to convince Gov. Ted Strickland to allow the execution. A petition with more than 1,400 signatures on petitions is also calling for the execution. Getsy was convicted for the "aggravated" murder of a 66 year old woman and attempted murder of her son. See story here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ohio: Request

The Ohio Parole Board has recommended (in a 5-2 vote) that a commutation of sentence be granted to Jason Getsy, who was convicted of murder and attempted murder. The News-Herald says a major factor in the decision appears to have been the fact that a co-defendant "who initiated and organized the crime" received only a life sentence, whereas Getsy was sentenced to death. According to this report there is some opposition developing to the commutation recommendation.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ohio: Request

WYTV ABC 33 reports convicted killer Jason Getsy had a clemency hearing today. The petition for mercy emphasized his "rough upbringing," the absence of his "real father" and the influence of drugs and guns. It is also argued that Getsy felt "threatened" by the person that paid him and two others to commit the murder. His attorney says the death penalty is inappropriate for a "puppet." The request is opposed by a County Prosecutor. See story here.

Ohio: Judge Supports Request

The Toledo Blade reports that the recent death of Judge William Skow has critical consequences for thirty-five year old Willie Knighten, Jr., who is serving a life sentence for murder. Skow recently wrote a letter to the State's Parole Board which read in part:
Over the past years, I have become increasingly persuaded that my findings were erroneous and that - in fact - it is more likely than not that Willie Knighten was innocent of the underlying charges ... This case has weighed heavily on my mind ever since.

Judge Skow's letter also said "no single fact or circumstance" exonerated Knighten. Instead there was "an accumulation of facts and anomalies." He also claimed significant errors were made during the original trial. See story here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ohio: Request

The State parole board will meet on July 9 to consider the clemency application of 33-year old Jason Getsy who is scheduled for execution by lethal injection in August. Getsy has been on "death row" for some 13 years now. He was convicted for the murder of a 68-year old woman and the attempted murder of her son in exchange for $5,000. A witness later said that he "bragged" about the shooting and “grabbed a piece of pizza with no cheese on it and said, ‘This looks just like this bitch’s face after we shot her.” See story here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ohio: Maurice Clarett, Not Yet

The Columbus Dispatch reports former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett is reconsidering his previous request for a pardon from Gov. Ted Strickland . County prosecutors opposed the request from the beginning. The 25-year old Clarett is serving a 71/2-year prison term for robbery and gun convictions and blogging about his experiences there. It is reported that his release date is Feb. 3, 2014. See story here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ohio: Request

Marvallous Keene will appear before the Ohio Parole Board to make his case for clemency today. It will be an uphill battle as Keene is responsible for five person killing spree in December of 1992. The killings are described by State media as "thrill killings." See story here. and here

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ohio: Request

John Fautenberry is scheduled to be executed next month. But, today, he is asking a State board for clemency. Fautenberry was convicted of the 1991 murder of a hitchhiker and two others. He has also been linked to the deaths of two people in Oregon. See story here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ohio: The Governor is Working On It

Few governors receive so much positive press for their clemency decisions (or non-decisions) as Ohio's Ted Strickland. Here is one of numerous examples we have seen of stories which describe the governor's backlog of cases and his careful attention to each and every application.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ohio: Reports on Clemency and Executions

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has a web page of "Death Row Clemency Reports." It includes .pdf files of applicants back to 1999. See page here.

Ohio: Rejection

The eight-member Ohio Parole Board has unanimously refused the clemency application of Brett Hartmann, who is scheduled to be executed on April 7. Hartmann's attorneys complain that the State should be "a whole lot more sure" about his client's guilt before anything like an execution takes place. They also want more time for DNA testing of hairs, a condom and a mop that may have been used to clean up evidence. The murder victim was stabbed more than 100 times and her hands were completely removed. Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh praised the Board for its decision and noted Hartmann is not accepting responsibility for his actions or expressing remorse. See story here.

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