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Cuyahoga County

Ohio prosecutors are turning away from the death penalty in favor of life in prison
Since taking office, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty has asked for death in just five cases

Kabir Bhatia
Retired University of Akron Law Professor Dean Carro says the reasons for fewer death penalty cases are likely cost and public opinion
Courtesy of University of Akron
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Ohio prosecutors have filed 77 percent fewer death penalty indictments since 2010, preferring instead to seek life without parole.  WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports.
LISTEN: Ohio prosecutors turning away from death penalty toward life in prison

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Ohio’s declining death penalty numbers are part of a national trend, and the Plain Dealer reports that life-without-parole nearly doubled in the past five years.  In Cuyahoga County, Prosecutor Tim McGinty has asked for the death penalty in just seven percent of cases that would qualify. His predecessor, Bill Mason, asked for death in 78 percent of cases.

Retired University of Akron Law Professor Dean Carro says one of the main reasons is likely the cost.

“You’re talking about a direct appeal, post-conviction appeals, Habeas Corpus, petitions for A Writ of Certiorari‎, so there may be five, six, seven [or] eight appeals.  All of which have their attendant costs.  I would guess somewhere in the nature of $100,000, at least.

“The public has been moving away in terms of public sentiment away from the propriety of the death penalty.  And the growing number of people who have initially been determined to have been guilty, and it later turns out that they’re innocent.”

Since taking office in 2012, Prosecutor McGinty has asked for death in just five cases.  Three plead guilty and are in prison, while two are still pending.
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