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House Speaker Says Ohio's Death Penalty Law Might Be Unenforceable

Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder
Paul Vernon

The Republican leader of the Ohio House says lawmakers are in a quandary when it comes to the death penalty. 

Current law only allows for Ohio to use lethal injections for executions. But the state's method has been put on hold by courts. Gov. Mike DeWine delayed all executions in 2019, saying it’s difficult for the state to get the drugs to carry them out.

Speaker Larry Householder says there have been discussions about which method could replace lethal injections.

“Well, I don’t think hanging, that we would probably want to come back to hanging," Householder says. "I don’t think shootings would be good.  Electrocution is sort of off the table. I don’t know what the method would be."

The state could get rid of the death penalty altogether. Householder says there aren't good options.

“Is there an option? We don’t know that there is another option right now," Householder explains. "We might have a law in place for a death penalty that we cannot carry out."

A spokesman for Ohio Senate Republicans says the Senate hasn't discussed abolishing the death penalty.

There are currently 140 inmates on death row. Of those, 24 menhave been scheduled to die by 2023. 

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.