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Another DP First for Ohio?

Ohio was the first state to change its lethal injection method to a single, massive dose of barbiturate.  Is Ohio on the verge of another first?

AP reports:

A committee charged with examining possible changes to Ohio's death penalty law meets the first time this week.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor has convened the task force while making it clear the committee won't debate whether Ohio should have capital punishment.

The committee, to meet publicly on Thursday at the Ohio State Bar Association, includes veteran prosecutors who have long supported the death penalty, along with defense attorneys who have fought its imposition.

The committee also includes judges, lawmakers, a sheriff, academic experts and a representative of the state prison system.

Among the committee members are several prosecutors who are genuine supporters, rather than the usual token cherry-picked elected DA from the most liberal jurisdiction in the state, as is customary when putting together such committees.  I also recognize on the roster Doug Berman, an academic who leans to the defense side but is not a hard-core death penalty opponent.

So is this an actual balanced committee that will really produce a useful report?  If so, it would be a first in the nation.  All the previous reports have been anti-death-penalty hatchet jobs by stacked committees.  California's commission was such a joke that their very first action was to appoint one of the most strident anti-death-penalty partisans in the state as executive director.  It was like watching a 49s-Raiders football game and seeing Al Davis trot out on the field as chief referee.  The report was predictably worthless.

Is this committee really balanced?  I don't know enough about the full roster to tell.  A commission can have good people on it and still be stacked, as California's was.  But there is enough here to hope that this time will be different.

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