New Report - Ohio's Death Penalty Unfair Toward Minorities
Report highlights racial disparities in Ohio's death penalty
January 28, 2016
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COLUMBUS– Senator Edna Brown (D – Toledo) announced the release of a new report on the application of Ohio’s death penalty. The report, conducted by University of North Carolina professor Dr. Frank R. Baumgartner, found that the race of the victim is strongly correlated with whether or not an individual receives the death penalty. If a homicide victim is white, there is a greater chance that the death penalty will be sought than if the victim is black. The disparity is even greater when factoring in gender; homicides involving white female victims are six times more likely to result in an execution than homicides involving black male victims.

“The racial disparities identified in this study are just one important aspect of the larger argument against the death penalty,” said Senator Brown. “Capital punishment is a biased and broken system that wastes millions of taxpayer dollars while serving no purpose that isn’t already accomplished by life without parole sentencing. It should be abolished.”

Senator Brown is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 67, the Racial Justice Act, introduced by Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus). This bill would allow those convicted of a capital crime to appeal their sentence if they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that race played a factor in their sentencing. They would then have to serve life without the possibility of parole. In 2014, the adoption of a racial justice act was one of 56 recommendations to come out of the Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty.

In April 2015, Senator Brown introduced SB 154, which would abolish the use of capital punishment in Ohio. She introduced similar legislation during the 129th and 130th Ohio General Assemblies. Senator Brown has also met with individuals who have been falsely convicted in Ohio, sentenced to death, and then exonerated.  In total, nine men have been exonerated and freed from death row in Ohio.

A copy of the report is attached below:


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