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Supreme Court Won't Hear Ohio Death Penalty Case

picture of execution bed
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
The court struck down Florida's law because it gave judges too much power to impose the death penalty.

The U.S. Supreme Court says it won’t hear a challenge to Ohio’s death penalty law in a case involving a convicted murderer and rapist from Marion.

The Supreme Court chose not to review a ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court in April that upheld the death sentence for 54-year-old Maurice Mason. Mason’s team claimed Ohio’s death penalty law had the same problems as Florida’s, which the high court had ruled unconstitutional. 

Kort Gatterdam is Mason’s attorney, and he’s disappointed but not dissuaded.

“It doesn’t mean they’re finding Ohio’s death penalty statute is constitutional. There may be another case down the road where they choose to hear this issue,” he said.

The U.S. Supreme Court said the Florida law was unconstitutional because it gave judges too much authority to impose the death penalty. Ohio’s Supreme Court ruled that though a judge sentences someone to death in Ohio, that authority comes directly from the jury.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.