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Antonio, Craig, Huffman, Reynolds Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to End the Death Penalty in Ohio

March 28, 2023
Hearcel F. Craig News

Today, Senate Minority Leader Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Senators Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City), Hearcel F. Craig (D-Columbus) and Michele Reynolds (R-Canal Winchester) held a press conference to discuss the introduction of their legislation to end Ohio's death penalty and instead pursue life without parole for capital crimes.

“It is time for the State of Ohio to take the pragmatic, economically prudent and principled step to end capital punishment,” said Antonio. “It will take all of us working together to make this kind of monumental change in Ohio. Today, we join a growing call for abolition, against a backdrop of public opinion, which increasingly favors life sentences over the use of the death penalty in Ohio and across the nation.”

“Like so many Ohioans, I once supported capital punishment and over time, with prayer and reflection, have come to believe it’s the wrong policy for the state of Ohio,” said Huffman.

Ending the death penalty in Ohio has been in the works for decades and is supported by the majority of Ohioans. It is a punishment that has shown to be administered with disparities across racial and economic lines, has failed as a deterrent to violent crime, and has prolonged the victimization of murder victims’ families and loved ones through lengthy appeals processes. 

“It is clear that the death penalty is not a sentence being applied justly or fairly,” said Craig. “This remains a deeply complicated and deeply divided issue that has led to the real threat of wrongful executions. This change does not ignore the importance of retribution and punishment but advances a fairer criminal justice system in Ohio. Abolishing the death penalty is an important step toward a more compassionate and equitable society. I am proud to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to call for an urgent end to the death penalty in Ohio.”

“I believe that life begins at conception and ends in natural death,” said Reynolds. “The death penalty, as it is applied today, devalues the dignity of human life. Human life should not be a bargaining chip. What we do with a human life should not be based on where you live, what race you are or your socioeconomic status. I am pleased to join my fellow legislators on this important legislation and it is my prayer that we can end the death penalty and affirm the dignity of life for all Ohioans.”

The bill has bipartisan support with cosponsorship from Senators Blessing (R-Cincinnati), Craig (D-Columbus), DeMora (D-Columbus), Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo), Ingram (D-Cincinnati), Lang (R-West Chester), Reynolds (R-Canal Winchester) Roegner (R-Hudson), Smith (D-Euclid), and Sykes (D-Akron).

Watch the full press conference here