State Reps. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Niraj Antani (R-Miami Township) today called for an end to capital punishment in Ohio and introduced bipartisan legislation to abolish the death penalty and replace it with a life sentence without parole.
The legislators discussed a multifaceted rationale for ending Ohio’s death penalty, citing racial disparities in sentencing; the death penalty’s failure to deter violent crime; the significant financial cost to taxpayers; and the state’s continued struggle to obtain the drugs necessary for lethal injection.
“Research has shown that the death penalty is administered with disparities across economical and racial lines and fails to act as a deterrent to violent crime,” said Antonio. “I continue to believe that the best death penalty reform in Ohio is to stop the use of capital punishment and replace it with a life sentence without parole.”
“Pro life, small government conservatives should be against the death penalty,” added Antani. “I believe there is a growing movement in the Republican Party to end the death penalty.”
The lawmakers were joined by advocates from the Catholic Conference of Ohio, the Ohio Council of Churches, the First Unitarian Universalist of Columbus, and Columbus synagogue Tifereth Israel.
“The Catholic Church is opposed to the use of the death penalty,” said Jim Tobin, associate director of the Catholic Conference of Ohio. “We are pleased to stand united today with so many other faith communities and political leaders in calling for an end to the death penalty.”
Ohio adopted its current capital punishment statute in 1981. To date, Ohio has executed a total of 393 convicts, while over 140 other prisoners remain on death row.
If passed, Ohio would join 19 other states in abolishing the death penalty. Nebraska most recently eliminated their death penalty statute this year, becoming the seventh state to do so since 2007.