Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Fewer People On Death Row In Ohio

Last week, the Columbus Dispatch reported that as executions become more frequent and death sentences become less frequent, the number of people on death row in Ohio is down to 160, from a high of 204. Only one person (Anthony Kirkland, by Hamilton County) has been sentenced to death in Ohio this year, and only one (Hersie Wesson, by Summit County) was sentenced to death last year. The Dispatch's article is based on Attorney General Richard Cordray's 2009 Capital Crimes Annual report, the full text of which is available here.

According to Cordray's report, 51.25% of death row inmates are African-American; 44.38% are white. Of the offenders' victims, 32.3% are African-American and 61.7% are white. Only one of the 160 death row inmates is a woman. The average age of a death row inmate is 45.95, and the average length of time spent on death row for current inmates is 14.48 years.

Hat tip: Professor Douglas Berman, who offers this interesting observation:
In this post yesterday, I suggested that the number of death sentences are rising in California during its de facto moratorium on executions because California jurors in capital cases (justifiably) consider their vote for death to be largely symbolic with little or no practical consequence on the likely fate of the defendant they condemn. I think these Ohio data reflect the other side of this coin: [because of] the frequency of executions in Ohio in recent years, Ohio jurors in capital cases (justifiably) consider their vote for death to be very consequential and thus it seems these jurors are being especially cautious when decid[ing] who should be condemned to die.

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