Catholic Conference of Ohio

Care for Creation Issue Topics - Catholic Conference of Ohio

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Death Penalty

Conference Testifies on Bill to End Death Penalty

There is a better way to carry out justice and mercy

The Cathoic Conference of Ohio testified in support of HB 183  legislation to end Ohio's death penalty. The message to the House Criminal Justice Committee:  "It is time for the State of Ohio to abolish the death penalty."  Conference testimony also highlighted that "the Catholic opposition to the death penalty is ultimately rooted in mercy and is eminently pro-life."  

Take Action:  Contact your Ohio Representative.  A companion bill, SB 103 is expected to have more hearings in the fall.  Read Cinciannati Archbishop Schnurr's letter to the faithful in support of SB 103.

Governor DeWine Issues Death Penalty Reprieves

Governor DeWine issues four more execution reprieves for a lack of available drugs to carry out Ohio's lethal injection procedure.  The governor's orders announced September 10, 2021, rescheduled executions for between December 2024 and May 2025.  The Conference commends this action.

Conference Testifies on Bill to End Death Penalty

Death penalty is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person

The Cathoic Conference of Ohio testified in support of SB 103: legislation to end Ohio's death penalty. The Conference highlighted the various church statements issued over the years calling for an end to the death penalty. 

"...[In 1977] the bishops of Ohio issued a statement stating that more destruction of human life through capital punishment would not enhance people’s respect for the sacredness of the life of every person. Since then, our Conference has issued six more statements. Over the years our opposition has grown stronger and clearer.

We now unequivocally state that the death penalty should no longer be used - that it is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person – and that we should work with determination for its abolition worldwide..."

A companion bill, HB 183, is expected to have proponent testimony later in June, 2021.

 Letter to the Faithful in support of Ohio State Bill 103
 Archbishop Schnurr, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Chairman of the Board, Catholic Conference of Ohio

Governor DeWine Continues to Issue Death Penalty Reprieves

Governor DeWine issued three more execution reprieves.  He stated in his order that this was due to ongoing problems involving the willingness of pharmaceutical suppliers to provide drugs to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC).  The Governor has issued a total of 24 death penalty reprieves.

The Conference commends this action.

The Ohio Attorney General’s 2020 Ohio Capital Crimes Annual Report, released on April 1, 2021, criticized the state’s death-penalty system as “increasingly time-consuming, costly, and lethargic.” (Read the Analysis by the Death Penalty Information Center)

DeWine Continues Reprieving Pending Executions

On December 18, 2020, Gov. Mike DeWine issued the following three reprieves of execution, citing the lack of drugs for the lethal injections:

- Elwood Hubert Jones, who was scheduled to be executed on April 21, 2021, is now due to be executed on Dec. 6, 2023.
- Gregory Lott, who was scheduled to be executed on May 27, 2021, is now to be executed Feb. 15, 2024
- Archie Dixon, who was scheduled to be executed on June 23, 2021, is now to be executed on April 17, 2024.

Ohio Legislature Eliminates Death Penalty for Persons with Severe Mental Illness

HB 136 Goes To Governor For Signature

The Catholic Conference of Ohio has been a long-time advocate for this legislation.  In testimony the Conference stated:

 "HB 136 is an important and achievable reform of Ohio’s death penalty system. Regardless of your position on the death penalty, we hope each of you will agree that our State ought not be executing persons with clearly defined mental illness. HB 136 offers a narrow path for such a determination. Conducting a pretrial hearing to determine if an individual meets the bill’s limited “conditions” of serious mental illness is a reasonable response. HB 136 will hold guilty individuals with serious mental illness accountable through a life sentence."

"We thank Representative Hillyer for sponsoring this legislation. We also thank Chairman Eklund and Senator Williams for carrying the companion bill, SB 54. We commend the work of the Ohio Supreme Court Task Force on the Death Penalty, and the leadership of former Justice Evelyn Stratton. We are pleased to join with the many mental health groups that support this legislation." 

The legislation passed the Senate 27-3 and the House 67-12.

Recalling the Meaning of Advent, U.S. Bishop Chairmen Call for End to Executions

Call on President Trump and Attorney General Barr to stop federal executions.

With more federal executions scheduled in December and January, two bishop chairmen call on the Trump Administration to recall God’s mercy during Advent

The statement reads in part: “...We’ve asked many times to stop the federal executions. In fact, last Advent, three bishops wrote that the resumption of federal executions was at odds with this season of anticipated redemption. But the executions resumed. Eight since July. Two more this week. Three in January. A new regulation will permit federal execution by means other than lethal injection, such as the electric chair...executions solve nothing"

Ohio Bishops Commend Governor DeWine for "Unofficial Moratorium" on the Death Penalty in Ohio

Governor States that Lethal Injection No Longer an Execution Option in Ohio

On December 8, 2020 Governor DeWine indicated to news reporters that lethal injection would no longer be an option in Ohio executions.  The legislature would have to enact an alternative.

Archbiship Dennis M. Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati and chairman of the Catholic Conference of Ohio, issued a letter on behalf of all the Catholic Bishops throughout Ohio commending this action.

The Conference continues to promote an end to the death penalty.

 

Stop the Federal Executions

The federal government has resumed federal executions for the first time in 17 years

The federal government has resumed federal executions for the first time in 17 years.  As Pope Francis has made clear, the death penalty is inadmissible as an affront to the Gospel and the dignity of human life. 
 
The Catholic bishops have expressed their opposition to the death penalty for decades. 

Please join in raising your voice against these executions.  Tell Attorney General Barr to stop the executions because they undermine human dignity!

U.S. Supreme Court Announces Rulings Related To Abortion Clinics and Federal Death Penalty

USCCB Chair Calls Clinic Ruling "Cruel Precedent"

The U. S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 to strike down the Louisiana law that requires abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Pro-Life Activities wrote: “...The Court’s failure to recognize the legitimacy of laws prioritizing women’s health and safety over abortion business interests continues a cruel precedent..."

In another ruling the U. S. Supreme Court refused to block the execution of four federal prison inmates who are scheduled to be put to death in July and August. The executions would mark the first use of the death penalty on the federal level since 2003. The court's action leaves no obstacles standing in the way of the executions, the first of which is scheduled for July 13. 

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Administration to reverse course on presiding over federal executions for the first time in 17 years.

 

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