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Unusual Voices to Call For Death Penalty Reforms

Ohio Death Penalty Lobby Day Program to Feature Conservative Republicans and Former Death Penalty Supporters, Death Row Survivors, Victim Family Members, Clergy, and in a Special Tribute, Retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton Will Receive the First Terry J. Collins Award.

Columbus – Hundreds of Ohioans to Stop Executions (OTSE) and 23 partner organizations from throughout Ohio will gather at the Statehouse for a Death Penalty Lobby Day today. Following a 9:30am program in the Statehouse Atrium featuring a bi-partisan array of legislators, a tribute to the late Terry J. Collins, and an award presentation to a formerly pro-death penalty retired state Supreme Court Justice, constituents will visit their legislators seeking support for death penalty reforms and repeal.

“We’re making progress,” said Kevin Werner, executive director of the statewide anti-death penalty group. “Today we are going to have the largest and most politically diverse crowd this statehouse has ever seen on the issue of capital punishment. Ohio Death Penalty Lobby Day coincides with National Crime Victims Rights Week, and Ohio Right to Life is also having a lobby day. We have a ton of crossover with those folks.”

National Crime Victims Rights Week seeks to raise awareness of the rights and needs of crime victims. Among the speakers at today’s Death Penalty Lobby Day include OTSE Board Chair Melinda Elkins Dawson, whose mother was murdered, and the executive director of the national group Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation, Rev. Jack Sullivan Jr. Sullivan is a Cleveland native whose sister’s murder remains unsolved. The two will also testify at 3:30 on Wednesday before the Joint Committee looking into the needs of homicide survivors in Ohio.

Today’s event recognizes progress with Senate Bill 162, championed by retired Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton, a leader in the Ohio Alliance for the Mental Illness Exemption ( and the presentation of sign-on letters to legislators from nearly 500 Ohio faith leaders.

Highlights WITH APPROXIMATE TIMES of the 9:30am to 10:50am Program in the Statehouse Atrium:

Participants are traveling from all corners of the state, asking Ohio’s policy makers to give full consideration to the recommendations of the Supreme Court Joint Task Force on the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty. They will note the continuing decline in the use of the death penalty in Ohio and the United States, which saw the lowest numbers of new death sentences and executions in more than two decades in 2015 – Ohio had only one new death sentence last year.


Convening Organizations include:

ACLU of Ohio
Amnesty International Ohio Members & Groups
The AMOS Project
Catholic Conference of Ohio
Catholic Mobilizing Network
Clark County Peace Alliance
Faith in Public Life
Greater Dayton Christian Connections
Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center
League of Women Voters of Ohio
Marianist Social Justice Collaborative
Miami Valley OTSE
Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation
National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio
Ohio Alliance for the Mental Illness Exemption
Ohio Council of Churches
Ohio Justice & Policy Center
Ohio State Conference of Branches of the NAACP
Ohioans to Stop Executions
PAAD: Presbyterian Action Against the Death Penalty
Scioto Peace and Justice–Fellowship of Reconciliation
Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio
Witness to Innocence

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