Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Death penalty stirs debate

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati City Council is debating a resolution urging a moratorium on Ohio's death penalty — but most of the arguing is about whether City Council has any business taking a stand at all.

        The Law and Public Safety voted for the resolution 4-1 Tuesday, over the protests of Chairman Pat DeWine.

        “As far as I'm concerned, the less time we spend worrying about things we have no control over, the better. I don't think this council is a debating society,” he said.

        If City Council is against the death penalty, why should anyone care?

        To answer that question, sponsor John Cranley brought in state representatives — who lobbied City Council to lobby their fellow lawmakers.

        One after another, Steve Driehaus, D-Delhi Township; Catherine Barrett, D-College Hill; Tom Brinkman Jr., R-Mount Lookout, and Sam Britton, D-Madisonville, said a resolution from City Council could make a difference.

        “I think it's important for you to know that when we get these resolutions in Columbus, we do take notice,” said Mr. Brinkman, one of only two Republicans in the state to co-sponsor an anti-death penalty resolution.

        Tom Luken, a former congressman and longtime opponent of the death penalty, said a resolution from Cincinnati would “send a signal” to the rest of the state.

        “Cincinnati, after all, has a reputation — or at least Hamilton County does — as "little Texas,'” Mr. Luken said.


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