Document Type

Legislative Notes


“The high service rendered by the 'cruel and unusual' punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment is to require legislatures to write penal laws that are evenhanded, nonselective, and nonarbitrary, and to require judges to see to it that general laws are not applied sparsely, selectively, and spottily to unpopular groups.”

With this mandate in mind, the Ohio General Assembly returned capital punishment to the state on October 19, 1981 with the signing of Senate Bill 1 by Governor Rhodes. The bill represents Ohio's third attempt to enact a constitutionally permissible death penalty since the 1788 "Marietta Code" provided the penalty for treason and murder.

This note will analyze the background and procedural content of S.B. 1, outline the reasons for change in light of modern United States Supreme Court standards, and review the practical application of the penalty to Ohio defendants.

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