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Crime/Law Enforcement

Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality Of State's Death Penalty

Daniel Konik

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of Ohio’s death penalty law.

Attorneys for 54-year old Maurice Mason claimed that since the US Supreme Court threw out Florida’s death penalty because it gave execution sentencing power to judges and not juries, Ohio’s law is also unconstitutional, because judges impose sentences. But Marion County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Collins told the Ohio Supreme Court in January that the law says a judge can only sentence someone to death on a jury’s recommendation.

“It’s just, it’s proper, and it is constitutional.”

The court unanimously sided with the state, saying the judge’s authority comes directly from the jury’s verdict. Mason’s death sentence for raping and killing Robin Dennis in Marion in 1993 was overturned by a federal court – he’s awaiting a new sentencing hearing.

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