Dean Lee Fisher, together with Robert Taft and Jim Petro, have co-authored an op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch titled, “Former governor, attorneys general: Ohio death penalty broken, costly and unjust. It must be repealed.” Dean Fisher and Mr. Petro both served as Ohio attorney general, and Robert Taft is a former Ohio governor.
The authors explain that all three of them served in the Ohio legislature in the 1980s, some supporting the death penalty and one opposing. In the following years, however, their experiences with the administering the death penalty led them all to “understand this system’s grievous flaws and its outright failure to achieve the benefits we had intended.”
The authors make a number of points for why they all now support the repeal of Ohio’s death penalty. First, they note, “[w]e have learned there is no evidence the death penalty is a better deterrent than life imprisonment without parole.” Second, they observe that “the death penalty does not support the families of murder victims, but instead prolongs their pain and impairs the healing process.” They also explain that “our death penalty system convicts and nearly executes the innocent,” noting that nine death row convicts have been released from prison “after collectively serving 210 years for crimes they did not commit.”
The authors state they have also learned that the death penalty “is not applied fairly,” and “that race and place play an intolerable role in deciding who lives and who dies.”
Finally, they note that the death penalty does not save tax dollars, “because the death penalty costs far more than our other option of life imprisonment without parole.”
The authors conclude that “we have a broken and incredibly costly system that fails to protect or aid us in any way. It is time to retire Ohio’s death penalty.”