Eve Stratton, of counsel in the Vorys Columbus office who prior to joining Vorys served as justice on the Supreme Court of Ohio for 16 years, testified in favor of proposed legislation that if passed would ban the execution of people in Ohio with diagnosed serious mental illness at the time of the crime. Several Ohio-based media outlets ran stories on her remarks.
A Columbus Dispatch story titled “Don't Execute Mentally Ill, Lawmakers Told” states:
“Stratton said the U.S. Supreme Court has set limits on executing juveniles and people with developmental disabilities, but has thus far left it to the states to handle killers diagnosed with serious mental illness. She said that would include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depressive and delusional disorders.
‘Do we as a society say we want to execute someone who has diminished capacity and mental Illness?’ Stratton said at a Senate Criminal Justice Committee hearing on Senate Bill 162.
A ban on executing the mentally ill was one of the recommendations approved last year by the Ohio Supreme Court Joint Task Force on the Death Penalty.
The former jurist stressed that the proposal deals only with the penalty phase in murder cases, and would not prevent an offender from being sent to prison for many years or even life. She said the bill is opposed by Ohio prosecuting attorneys who think the current adversarial system works.”
To read the entire story, visit the Columbus Dispatch website.
A Hannah Report story titled “Ohio Should Lead by Ending Executions for Seriously Mentally Ill, Former Justice Says” states:
“She said the bill has been drafted "very narrowly" after seeking input from advocates, psychiatrists, psychologists, family members and prosecutors. Only about 15 percent of those currently on Death Row would ‘qualify under these tight boundaries even though many of those cases had issues of mental illness,’ she said.
‘We have narrowed to the point that I do not think it can be narrowed effectively anymore without pretty much abolishing its value,’ Stratton said.
She said she is not swayed by the argument that ‘everybody’ will claim to be mentally ill.
‘Everybody claims to be not guilty. What do we do with that? We require the prosecutor of the state of Ohio to plead their case. There is nothing different. The state of Ohio would have to plead their case,’ she said, noting prosecutors can rebut mental illness claims by showing the person does not have one of the five mental illnesses in the bill or by showing the mental illness had nothing to do with the crime.”
To read the entire story, visit the Hannah Report website.