November 21, 2014

Partly cloudy

State Rep. Dan Ramos opposes death penalty

Dan Ramos

Dan Ramos

State Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, said he understands that some relatives of homicide victims want to see the killers executed.

Nonetheless, Ramos supports abolishing the death penalty contending it is inhumane, unequally applied and too expensive. Ramos on Tuesday joined anti-death penalty advocates in Columbus to support a bill replacing Ohio’s death penalty with life in prison without parole. The bill is expected to be formally introduced later this month.

Noting the 143 people sentenced to death who were exonerated since 1973, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, Ramos said the death penalty has the potential to execute innocent people. The center said states with the death penalty have higher murder rates than states without it, which Ramos said proves it is not a deterrent to murder.

Ramos said the death penalty is unequally applied in Ohio where 47 people have been executed since 2003. The last Lorain County resident executed was Daniel Wilson in 2009 for the 1991 murder of Carol Lutz.

Ramos said 62 percent of death penalty candidates come from seven of Ohio’s 88 counties. He said counties with larger prosecutorial staffs tend to seek the death penalty disproportionately. Ramos said about 25 percent of death row inmates are from Hamilton County, but just 9 percent of Ohio’s murders occurred there.

“It is clear that it is being applied unequally,” Ramos said. “The geographic area or the socioeconomic background you come from shouldn’t determine whether you’re sentenced to death or to life in prison.”

Ramos said death penalty cases cost taxpayers millions of dollars and the length of cases, which can take a decade or more, traumatize homicide victims’ families.

“They have to keep reliving it,” he said.

Three people have been executed in Ohio this year and the next execution is scheduled for January, according to Ricky Seyfang, an Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman. New drugs will be used for the lethal injection because death penalty states like Ohio have had difficulty buying pentobarbital. Drug companies have balked at selling it for executions.

Ramos said the negatives of the death penalty outweigh the positives and support for it is decreasing. An October Gallup poll found 60 percent of Americans support the death penalty, the lowest level since 1972.

However, Dennis Will, Lorain County prosecutor, said he supports the death penalty in particularly heinous cases. He said the issue is being studied by a task force of academic experts, defense lawyers, lawmakers and prosecutors, but it is ultimately up to the Legislature.

“The legislature needs to debate this openly, vet it fully and then make a determination,” Will said. “Whatever they arrive at we will enforce.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or

  • stop ur whining

    i do not get the inhumane argument. Why does putting a murderer to death have to be humane? Were they humane when the committed the horrible act? As for the expense, just slit their throat and be done with it.

    Perhaps if we as a society applied the death penalty in a cruel and often nature we would reduce the amount of cases where the death penalty applies. We need MASSIVE criminal reform in this country. We need to more severely punish criminals in order to sway them away from committing crime. if you are guilty of murder, you get one appeal and have six months to do so. if your appeal is denied you are killed the next day. No more decades of death row, that is why it cost so much. If you rob, you lose a hand, you beat your wife you get beaten almost to death and pay your own bills. Today people simply know that the criminal justice system is a joke and they can abuse it as they see fit.

    • Paul Facinelli

      I’m sensing satire here, a strain of humor not normally found on these threads. If not, if you’re truly serious and not just exaggerating for comic effect, I suggest you read the eighth amendment to the Constiution. If you do, I’m certain you’ll change your views on punishment. After all, conservatives love, just love, the Constitution. Right? Am I right? Please affirm so my faith can be restored.

      • stop ur whining

        im not really all that conservative to be honest. fairly liberal actually. but i am 100% for personal responsibility.

        the Constitution is also a living body that was meant to be changed appropriately with the times. I see ZERO issue treating a MURDERER like the scum they are. There is no satire in my above statement.

        • Buurga Topek

          The Constitution is not a living body and most certainly is not meant to be changed to be “appropriate”. It is the very opposite. The times should conform to the Constitution. It has been altered in the past ( women’s suffrage etc.) but these issues were special and momentous, not merely ‘reflecting’ popular mood. However, I do agree with your stance on the death penalty.

          • stop ur whining

            The Framers knew that the passage of time would surely disclose
            imperfections or inadequacies in the Constitution, but these were to be
            repaired or remedied by formal amendment, not by legislative action or
            judicial construction (or reconstruction). Hamilton (in The Federalist
            No. 78) was emphatic about this.

            Our founding fathers were smart men, they knew they did not know everything and that reason is why the constitution can be amended. In this case specifically the 8th amendment.

          • Buurga Topek

            Never open the door to the government getting any more power than it already has. The 8th Amendment is fine. It does not prevent capital punishment and keeps a brake on more ‘aggressive’ forms of punishment. We have enough problems keeping the freedoms we have left without giving the government license to ‘experiment’.

      • Buurga Topek

        The courts have repeatedly ruled that lethal injection is neither cruel nor unusual. Nor is a death sentence to a child murderer, for example, an issue of cruel or unusual morality. If it makes you feel better, just think of the death penalty as post natal abortion. Now that’s a concept the left can understand.

      • Larry Crnobrnja

        “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

        The death penalty is neither cruel nor unusual. What is your point?

      • Ray Venn

        Hey Paulie,
        You see how many “up votes” his comment got as opposed to down votes?
        Americans have no problem with the death penalty no matter what Ramos claims.
        When the Constitution was written there was keel hauling, beheading and hanging as punishment.
        I say we use the examples our forefathers used since it was not “inhumane” to them.

    • ken

      I agree with you. wish more people did

      • stop ur whining

        its the bleeding hearts that are killing me. Again, i am exceedingly liberal in many aspects, but i am also sensible and the idea that we need to treat a MURDERER humanely is some kind of a bad joke.

    • Popper Popovich

      I am a liberal, but I am all for public flogging in many cases.
      Something needs to be done to change this madness of
      personal irresponsibly.

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    I have two(2) suggestions to resolve the “problem”.
    1. Make the other counties seek the death penalty more often.
    2. More timely execution of sentence.

  • grp61

    The Democratic Party is nothing more than a Union for criminals, baby killers, gays and illegal immigrants and any one else that feels like they are more SPECIAL than any one else ! The party of Liars and Thief’s !

  • Paul Facinelli

    Iran, China, North Korea, these are the countries that share with us, in the exceptional United States, the belief that capital punishment is a public policy worth preserving. The rest of the 200+ nations of the world have consigned this barbaric practice to the dust bin of history where it belongs. There are solid arguments against the death penalty: (Logical) Punishing an act by committing the very same act makes no sense. (Moral) When we kill, with great pre-meditation and sense of (twisted) purpose, we lower ourselves to the killer’s level. We no longer have the moral high ground. But the most compelling argument is this: We might get it wrong. Let me repeat that: We might get it wrong. To believe in capital punishment you have to believe in the infallibility of the criminal justice system. Is any decent, thoughtful person ready to do that, to believe that the cops and prosecutors always get it right? Rep. Ramos, who exhibits considerable political courage with his stand, cites the 143 exonerations of death row inmates since 1973. Criminologists estimate that hundreds of people were wrongly executed in the 20th Century in our country. I can think of no greater evil than to take the life of an innocent person. To prevent this from ever happening again, a convicted murderer should spend the rest of his life in a small space, eat lousy food, be among people he would rather not be around and have virtually every aspect of his life controlled by others. For decades and decades. This is hardly kid glove treatment. And if exonerating evidence should come to light, the convicted person can then be freed. If we execute someone and then exonerating evidence appears, well, I hate to state the obvious, but death is final. Let’s support Rep. Ramos and join the 21st Century, shall we? (P.S. For those of you inclined to Google, try these: Cameron Todd Willingham (Texas), Troy Davis (Georgia), the West Memphis Three case (Arkansas) and the Central Park Jogger case (New York). These were executions — Willingham and Davis — and near-executions of demonstrably innocent people.)

    • Buurga Topek

      Are you seriously using this nonsense as a position? Criminologists ‘estimate’?, Killing a murderer doesn’t lower anyone, any time and it certainly prevents the killer from repeating his crime (brush up on repeat homicides from paroled felons if you really like facts) . And there is absolutely no guarantee a convicted killer will not be set loose, let alone spend his life in prison-taking tax dollars away from worthwhile social programs. We all take our chances in society and it’ certainly not perfect but to protect a convicted murderer on the grounds he just might be innocent despite a legal trial and decision doesn’t wash, and never will.

    • stop ur whining

      let me here you champion this cause when some deranged pervert rapes and murderers your wife. easy to be an arm chair quarterback.

      furthermore you fail to realize that we live in a society in moral decay. we for too long have allowed the bleeding hearts of the world to beat down each and every form of punishment we have for criminals. We made prisons more comfortable, we offer free education, therapy groups, counselors. We have done this bc the bleeding hearts tell us that we need to “reform” and “rehabilitate” these criminals. we need to help them break the pattern. what a load of crap. look where that has gotten us. our prisons are bursting at the seems and criminals are emboldened, they are no longer afraid and in most cases view jail as a badge of honor.

      as for executing an innocent person. criminologists estimate…that is not a fact, that is a guess. of the 143 exoneration’s, of how many murder convicts? 1000, 10,000, 1,000,000? of those 143 exoneration’s how many really did it and just had it over turned on appeal? see, i can make generalizations and pass them off as facts too, its fairly easy.

      Is our system perfect? no, never will be. however the appeals process is lengthy in death penalty cases bc of the gravity of the sentence. all the I’s are dotted and T’s crossed.

  • rememberwhen

    Last I checked, he works for us. Does not matter what he thinks!! Get those needles ready.

  • Joe Sandor

    I am a VERY far-right conservative. However, I also despise the Death Penalty, except when killing a police officer or firefighter. I think a far better sentence is Life-Plus-100-Years in solitary confinement. 1) Lower taxpayer cost, 2) Living alone with no contact with other inmates would be a major punishment; by not having inmate contact, they can’t become part of a gang and in a “community” while in prison. 3) There is no pay for commissary goodies since they cannot work while in solitary.

  • Smira29595

    Are these that oppose death penalty the same ones at have no problem imposing it on an unborn child????