PRESS RELEASE, 5/18/2016

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters comments on two recent Ohio Supreme Court decisions

Today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters commented on 2 recent Ohio Supreme Court decisions.

On May 4th the Ohio Supreme Court without opinion and without explanation issued summary orders on 2 Hamilton County death penalty cases. 

In State v. Kirkland, the Ohio Supreme Court summarily granted Kirkland’s Motion for Order or Relief without providing any written justification or rationale.  The court ordered the case returned to the trial court for a resentencing hearing.  A resentencing hearing requires the State of Ohio to put on evidence of guilt for the newly impaneled jury in order for the jury to make a sentencing recommendation to the judge.  Kirkland was convicted in 2010 of murdering 4 young women in Hamilton County and sentenced to death.  On May 12th the State of Ohio filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the court asking the court to reconsider its summary ruling or in the alternative explain why it remanded the case for a new sentencing hearing.

In State v. Wogenstahl, the Ohio Supreme Court without explanation granted an Application to Reopen Wogenstahl’s direct appeal.  The Ohio Supreme Court set a briefing schedule for the parties in front of the Ohio Supreme Court.  Wogenstahl was convicted in 1991 for the murder of 10-year-old Amber Garrett and sentenced to death.  On May 18th the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office filed a Request for Recusal of Justice William M. O’Neill from hearing the Wogenstahl case given his repeated comments in the Wogenstahl decision and numerous other cases that he will not follow Ohio law and will never impose the death penalty.

Prosecutor Deters commented, “I am extremely troubled by the recent decisions from the Ohio Supreme Court.

In Kirkland, my office filed a Motion to Reconsider in an attempt to get clarification.

I also filed a Request for Recusal against Justice O’Neill in the Wogenstahl case given his repeated statements that he will not follow Ohio law and impose the death penalty when appropriate.”