OTSE Press Release – Task Force Chairman to Headline Forum on Death Penalty Reforms, Advocacy Group Takes Issue To The People

May 2, 2014

WAPAKONETA – With the imminent release of the final report of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty, Ohioans to Stop Executions (OTSE) has begun organizing free public forums so that Ohioans can hear from experts with direct experience on the issue and learn more about the reforms proposed by the Task Force. The first such event will be headlined by Task Force Chairman Judge James A. Brogan and will take place at 7pm Tuesday, May 6 at the Parish Life Center at St. Joseph Church in Wapakoneta.

Judge Brogan is a former prosecutor from Montgomery County who supports the death penalty but has raised concerns regarding the implementation of the death penalty in Ohio.

“The Task Force proposes 56 serious reforms designed to make Ohio’s death penalty fairer and more accurate,” said Kevin Werner, executive director of the statewide group. “Many of these reforms require legislative action in order to be implemented. We believe all Ohioans, regardless of their stance on the death penalty, want our legislators to take the majority views of the report seriously. We think full and fair consideration should be given to the suggested remedies offered by the experts on the Task Force.”

To help Ohioans get beyond the rhetoric and really understand why this is important, Ohioans to Stop Executions created a searchable on-line database of all 56 recommendations on its web site at www.OTSE.orgOn Tuesday, OTSE will launch a public education campaign to make sure Ohio citizens know exactly what the recommendations are, and how they will increase fairness and accuracy in our death penalty system. Wapakoneta was chosen to host the first of these forums because of its proximity to the district of Senate President Keith Faber, who has been invited to attend the event.

“We respect the role that Senate President Faber plays in setting a civil tone for how issues are considered in the legislature,” said Werner. “The diverse and bi-partisan members of the Task Force took their time and deliberated carefully. We want to make sure legislators know how important it is that Ohio gets this right. Because of how the Task Force findings have been characterized by certain parties, we are calling on President Faber to ensure a fair, thorough and civil implementation process for the Task Force recommendations.”

The event, a free public forum entitled “Voices of Experience: The Death Penalty” features a panel of Ohioans who will share their personal experiences with the issue.
Speakers include:
  • Judge James A. Brogan, Chairman of the Supreme Court Joint Task Force;
  • Melinda Dawson and Charles Keith, both of whom have lost loved ones to murder;
  • Terry J. Collins, who, as Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, oversaw more than 30 executions;
  • Death Row Survivor Joe D’Ambrosio; and the minister who helped free D’Ambrosio, Reverend Neil Kookoothe.
A similar event will take place in Cincinnati at 7pm on Wednesday, May 7 at the College of Mount St. Joseph. Additional forums will take place across Ohio and will be announced as they are scheduled. Visit www.OTSE.org to learn more about this program, the OTSE database on the reforms recommended by the Task Force, and to download and read OTSE’s report issued April 1st, “The Death Lottery: How Race and Geography Determine Who Goes to Ohio’s Death Row.


Advance interviews with forum panelists may be arranged by contacting Allison Smith at 513-787-9399 or asmith@otse.org.


Contact:  Allison Smith
Ohioans to Stop Executions