Death penalty ‘mental illness’ bill heads to Ohio House


A gavel and a name plate with the engraving Death Penalty/Getty Images

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio House is considering a bill that would prohibit the executions of defendants if they’re found to have had a “serious mental illness” at the time of the offense.

The House Criminal Justice Committee approved the measure Thursday after rejecting an amendment offered by Rep. Robert Cupp, a Lima Republican, that would have exempted current death row inmates from the ban.

Gongwer News Service reports that Cupp said he was concerned about the cost and the difficulty of finding evidence in old cases.

Rep. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, said only a few inmates would be eligible.

Offenders deemed by professionals to have had “serious mental illness” must have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, or delusional disorder. The bill goes now to the full House.

Continuing coverage, here.

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