Hat tip to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty for keeping an online execution schedule, which we've reviewed and noticed that Ohio is beating even Texas in capital punishment in the upcoming months -- Ohio has 9 executions set; Texas has 8; Pennsylvania, Florida, and South Dakota each have one execution on their calendars.
Here's how things are currently stacking up:
Sep 20: Donald Palmer, OH - Executed
Sep 20: Robert Harris, TX - Executed
Sep 25: Cleve Foster, TX - Executed
Oct 3: Terrance Williams, PA
Oct 16: John Ferguson , FL
Oct 18: Anthony Haynes, TX
Oct 28: Donald Moeller, SD
Oct 31: Donnie Roberts , TX
Nov 8: Mario Swain, TX
Nov 13: Brett Hartman, OH
Nov 14: Ramon Hernandez, TX
Nov 15: Preston Hughes, TX
Dec 12: Rigoberto Avila, Jr. , TX
Jan 16: Ronald Post, OH
Mar 6: Frederick Treesh, OH
May 1: Steven Smith, OH
Aug 7: Billy Slagle, OH
Sep 25: Harry Mitts, Jr., OH
Nov 14: Ronald Phillips, OH
Jan 16: Dennis McGuire, OH
So what is up with Ohio?
Well, there was a bill brought before the Ohio legislature to ban capital punishment last spring, but it failed. And, yes -- proponents of the legislation were arguing for its passage not because of ethical positions against capital punishment nor concerns that innocents might die - but instead because of money. Ohio, like the rest of the nation, spends lots and lots of money on death penalty cases and there was a movement to end the death penalty in Ohio to save tax dollars. Read about it here.
This spring, a federal judge stepped aside after instituting a series of legal barriers to Ohio being able to execute people - U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost had issued opinions not on the constitutionality of the Ohio capital punishment statute but instead on the ways in which it was being carried out, effectively stopping the death penalty in Ohio for a significant period of time. However, in April 2012, Judge Frost allowed the execution of Mark Wiles and now it appears that Ohio is trying to clear out its Death Row like some folk do a Fall Cleaning of their homes before the holiday season.
You may remember that Ohio was the state where Romell Broom fought against his execution and had that execution stayed by Judge Frost's Order (Broom is currently incarcerated at Chillecothe Correctional Facility in Ohio).
Ohio is also the state that set national precedent by using a single drug lethal injection method in the execution of Johnnie Baston, the first man in this country to be executed in the exact same manner that vets euthanize dogs and cats.
With Judge Frost's ruling this spring in the Mark Wiles matter, Ohio's procedures for executing Death Row inmates was no longer under scrutiny as the opinion found that while "...Ohio has routinely offended" the protections provided by the U.S. Constitution, it had corrected things sufficiently to allow capital punishment to proceed once again since in Judge Frost's words, "the United States Constitution does not require a perfect execution," just one that "does not offend constitutional protections."