Time out on Executions in Ohio
Joe D’Ambrosio has just become the 140th death row exoneree, and the sixth man exonerated from Ohio’s death row. Joe was wrongfully convicted of murdering 19-year old Anthony Klann in Cuyahoga County in 1989. Following a 2006 ruling that overturned his conviction, Joe was eventually freed in March 2010 and all charges were dismissed.
Since March 2010, prosecutors and the attorney general’s office have been appealing the dismissal but appeals courts have upheld the ruling. The exoneration is made official because today (January 23, 2012) the United States Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal by prosecutors.
Ohioans to Stop Executions and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty welcome Joe to freedom, and congratulate everyone on the legal team and everyone else who has stood by Joe and advocated for him all of these years.
Now it is time to Take Action!
Joe D’Ambrosio’s conviction was overturned because Cuyahoga County prosecutors withheld ten pieces of evidence that would have exonerated D’Ambrosio at his 1989 trial and implicated another man in the crime. Instead Joe spent twenty-one years on Ohio’s death row for a crime prosecutors knew he did not commit.
It’s crystal clear that executions must stop in Ohio. No one should be executed under a system of justice while that very system is being closely examined to assess its fairness and accuracy.
This exoneration comes at a time when Ohio is already examining the many aspects of Ohio’s capital punishment system. Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor recently established a Joint Task Force for this purpose which has just begun its work. The Joint Task Force should be allowed to operate without the undue pressure of ongoing executions. Currently, Ohio has at least six executions scheduled over the next year.
Today, Ohioans to Stop Executions again calls on Governor John Kasich to issue an immediate moratorium on all executions until the Ohio Supreme Court’s Joint Task Force completes its thorough review of Ohio’s death penalty system.