Tuesday, April 03, 2001

Ohio high court chided over capital caseload

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Attorney General Betty Montgomery on Monday chided the Ohio Supreme Court for a bottleneck of death penalty cases.

        Ms. Montgomery's annual review of the capital punishment process criticized the lack of enforcement of a rule adopted by the Supreme Court in 1997 to keep capital cases progressing.

        The report cites 16 such cases that haven't seen “meaningful activity” for two years. Of these, 10 are before the Ohio Supreme Court, the report said.

        The Supreme Court's enforcement of Rule 39, to track post-conviction procedures in death penalty cases, “has been at best sporadic and largely nonexistent” the report said.

        Chief Justice Thomas Moyer defended the Supreme Court, saying the report gives the inaccurate impression that cases are languishing unattended.

        “We have a constitutional and statutory duty to review every piece of evidence, every page of a transcript to be sure this person should be put to death, and we are not going to take shortcuts,” he said.


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- Ohio high court chided over capital caseload