State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) today issued a statement following the House passage of House Bill (HB) 136, which would prohibit the death penalty for offenders with a serious mental illness at the time of the offense. Leland offered an amendment on the House floor to correct an oversight in the bill that could have allowed some sentences to be retroactively voided.
“Ohio’s death penalty should be reserved for the ‘worst of the worst,’ not for folks whose moral culpability is impaired by serious mental illness.
“However, that doesn’t mean these folks should be back on the streets. Any person who retroactively has their death sentence voided because of the serious of their mental illness will be subject to life in prison without parole.
“While I believe this serious mental illness exception is an appropriate modification to Ohio’s death penalty, I also know that our first responsibility is to the health and safety of our fellow citizens. My amendment to clarify the law lives up to that responsibility.”