Catholic Conference of Ohio
Sunday, January 17, 2021

News & Press - Catholic Conference of Ohio

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.

 

Governor DeWine Continues to Issue Death Penalty Reprieves

Pending Executions in 2020 Rescheduled

Governor DeWine continues to grant execution reprieves (eighteen to date).  Kareem Jackson, Stanley Fitzpatrick, and David Sneed had their execution dates rescheduled for 2022 and 2023. The governor cited ongoing problems involving the willingness of pharmaceutical suppliers to provide drugs to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC).

The Catholic Conference of Ohio commends Governor DeWine for this action. The Conference continues to promote an end to the death penalty.

Ohio Senate Committee Passes Death Penalty Limitation Bill

HB 136 Bans Executions of Seriously Mentally Ill Persons

On June 3, 2020 the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee passed HB 136 that prohibits the death penalty for persons with severe mental illness.  The bill now goes before the full Senate.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio strongly supports passage of this legislation.

Persons are encouraged to contact their Senator asking for their support.

 

Governor DeWine Issues Three More Death Row Reprieves

Ongoing Problems Remain Over Execution Protocols

 Governor Mike DeWine issued the following three reprieves of execution:

  • Gregory Lott, who was scheduled to be executed on March 12, 2020.  The new date of execution has been moved to May 27, 2021. 
  • John Stumpf, who was scheduled to be executed on April 16, 2020.  The new date of execution has been moved to September 15, 2021. 
  • Warren "Keith" Henness, who was scheduled to be executed on May 14, 2020.  The new date of execution has been moved to January 12, 2022. 

Governor DeWine is issuing these reprieves due to ongoing problems involving the willingness of pharmaceutical suppliers to provide drugs to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC), pursuant to DRC protocol, without endangering other Ohioans. The Governor has now issued twelve reprieves.

Amicus Brief Presents Arguments on The Catholic Church's Opposition to the Death Penalty

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops File Brief to the U.S. Supreme Court Regarding Florida Case

On January 17, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in support of James M. Dailey, an inmate on Florida’s death row, urging a new trial in his case due to persuasive evidence of actual innocence. The amicus brief explains the Catholic Church’s longstanding opposition to the death penalty. The Church teaches that capital punishment violates respect for life and human dignity. The injustice is especially acute in the instance of an innocent person sentenced to death. The amicus brief also argues that the execution of an innocent person violates the Constitution of the United States.  

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