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Death Sentences Up in Ohio

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The decline in the number of death sentences in recent years has been the subject of much discussion.  As I have noted previously on this blog, a big chunk of the decrease is attributable simply to the drop in murders.  What accounts for the rest?

One possible component is the fatigue factor.  The appeals drag out so long with such uncertain results that prosecutors are less likely to seek the death penalty in cases on the low end of the range of cases where they would seek the death penalty in a fully functioning system.  If this hypothesis is correct, then one would expect to see an increase in death sentences when a state gets its system working and actually carries out sentences in regular, if not necessarily speedy, manner.

Alan Johnson of the Columbus Dispatch reports that "Ohio bucked a national trend last year by sending seven people to Death Row - the most since 2003."  Ohio carried out 8 executions last year, the second most in the nation.

The story links to this report from the Ohio Attorney General.

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