Ohio death penalty committee looks at racial bias

Updated 02:31 p.m., Thursday, July 19, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio Supreme Court committee studying the state’s capital punishment law on Thursday rejected a recommendation to collect past data to detect racial bias in death penalty cases.

The committee also postponed votes on a recommendation to collect information in the future on all homicides that might be eligible for capital punishment as another way of detecting racial bias. The committee considered but tabled a proposal to analyze existing death penalty data collected by the state public defender’s office.

Those two proposals are likely to pass in the future when the committee gets more details about the recommendations, said James Brogan, a former state appeals court judge who is chairman of the committee.

Brogan said everyone agrees race shouldn’t play a role in the death penalty, but a number of studies nationally have already shown that is the case.

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