[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----OHIO
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Feb 15 12:02:23 CST 2005
OHIOANS TO STOP EXECUTIONS----Press Release
For Immediate Release - February 15, 2005
Contact: Alice Gerdeman, 513-579-8547
Parole Board 8-0 Recommend Against Clemency for William Smith
Will Ohio Execute Another Mentally Ill Man?
Today the Ohio Adult Parole Board voted 8-0 to not recommend clemency for
Mr. William Henry Smith, scheduled to be executed on March 8th.
The Governor now decides whether Mr. Smith will live or die. Last year the
Governor allowed for 7 execution, 2nd only to the Governor of Texas.
Governor Taft has historically followed the Board's recommendation,
including the one time commutation of Mr. Jerome Campbell. Ohioans to Stop
Execution calls on Governor Taft to commute Mr. Smith sentence.
Ohioans to Stop Execution OTSE say that Mr. Smith's case is a good one for
commutation. According to his clemency brief, Mr. Smith had "an abysmal
childhood, history of abuse, poor family relationships, ability to adjust
well to imprisonment and organic brain damage."
Such personal information was not available at the time of trial.
Mr. Smith's mental illness is of concern to OTSE members. Ohio need not
wait for a mandate from the US Supreme Court to know that executing the
mentally ill is unjust. Of the 15 men executed in recent Ohio history many
have had severe mental issues. Mr. Smith spent 5 pivotal years of his
young life [ages 9-14] at Longview mental facility. His mental health
condition ought to grant him clemency.
OTSE stands with many Ohioans of good will who do not want to see the
mentally ill executed in our names.
OTSE is not alone in this ethical stance. Previous concerns have been
raised by NMHA National Mental Health Association, APA American
Psychological Association and NAMI the National Alliance for the Mentally
Ill. International Law challenges us through the UN Commission on Human
Rights not to impose the death penalty on a person suffering from any form
of mental disorder or to execute any such person.
OTSE stands with the wider world community calling for an end of the
killing of the mentally ill. OTSE President Sister Alice Gerdeman
encourages all Ohioans of good will to call upon their elected officials
to stop this unethical treatment of the sick, "Justice and mercy demand
that Mr. Smith's sentence be commuted. He is and was mentally ill. He
needs treatment not punishment. Society becomes safer when mental health
issues are addressed as a matter of policy."
To date over 90 groups throughout the State of Ohio have called for a
moratorium on executions. Since reinstatement Ohio has executed 15 men:
Berry 1999, Scott 2001, Byrd 2002, Coleman 2002, Buell 2002, Fox 2003,
Brewer 2003, Martin 2003, Williams 2004, Roe 2004, Wickline 2004, Zuern
2004, Vrabel 2004, Mink 2004, Dennis 2004. Mr. Smith could be the first
execution in 2005. We must stop the killing!
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