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Group of Ohio Prosecutors Objects to Some of Death Penalty Task Force's Reform Ideas

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Four prosecutors on a task force that reviewed the death penalty in Ohio have released a report objecting to some of the recommendations the task force put out two weeks ago. For Ohio Public Radio, Karen Kasler has more.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 9:55 am

The dissenters – representing Ohio’s three largest counties and the attorney general’s office – also included their own ideas of recommendations that they say they want lawmakers to consider if they’re going to change the death penalty law.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says one suggestion is to allow a presentation on behalf of the victim in the sentencing phase of a capital trial.

"Currently a death penalty mitigation meeting is all about the defendant," O'Brien said. "You hear nothing about the victim, nothing about the victim's family, their survivors, the impact the crime has had on others, which, if we're going to have a fair death sentencing process, it seemed to us ought to be part of the equation”

The prosecutors have already spoken out about their concerns about a recommendation to require either biological evidence or a videotaped confession for a death penalty conviction.

In their 49-page report today, the prosecutors also say they’re very concerned about recommendations to remove the death penalty when a murder happens during certain crimes, such as kidnapping or rape. And they also want a more information about a recommendation to eliminate the death penalty as a sentence for those with mental illness.