An Ohio man who has spent the majority of his adult life behind bars in Ohio as well as in a neighboring state may be able to avoid execution. His criminal defense team is pointing to mental disability to save him from execution.
Police accused the man of attacking, raping and killing several women in the spring of 1987 from Ohio to Kentucky. Prosecutors charged the Ohio man eventually, and a jury convicted him and placed him on death row. As the man faced the long-term consequences of such convictions and neared his execution in 2010, his criminal defense team claimed that he was unable to be executed because of mental incapacities. A circuit judge agreed and stopped the execution, questioning how the legal system evaluated mental competence. Now, the Ohio man will finally have a chance at a mental competence hearing.
Court clears way for inmate to have mental hearing," Brett BarrouquereInsanity and mental incompetency are defenses to the death penalty. The U.S. Supreme Court made this clear in 2002. It issued a decision, holding that it is a violation of the Eighth Amendment for the government to execute a person with mental retardation because it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
Although the holding as to mental incapacity is fairly straightforward, it may be difficult to raise or apply it in a particular case. This is when it becomes important for a criminal defendant in Ohio to seek out a strong criminal defense team. Criminal defense professionals can appreciate the intricacies of an insanity or mental disability defense and raise the necessary arguments at the appropriate times.
Facing death row is an unimaginable circumstance. There are certain defenses that can help a defendant avoid the ultimate sentence of execution, however. Mental disability is one of those defenses.
Source: news.cincinnati.com, "Court clears way for inmate to have mental hearing," Brett Barrouquere , Nov. 21, 2012