February 21st, 2012
Increasingly, public figures across the country are changing their minds on the death penalty as they examine and witness the realities of our broken system. One such death penalty supporter turned opponent is Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer. He helped write Ohio’s death penalty law 30 years ago when he was a state senator. Today, he’s working to abolish it.
“I have concluded that the death sentence makes no sense to me at this point when you can have life without the possibility of parole,” Pfeifer said during testimony in December in favor of a bill to abolish Ohio’s law. “I don’t see what society gains from that.”
Though Pfiefer continues to rule on death penalty cases and has written both the majority opinion upholding death sentences as well as dissenting opinions, he has maintained for years that prosecutors overuse the statute and that it should only be reserved for the most heinous of murders. He now thinks that the death penalty is unnecessary given that Ohio changed their law in 2005 to make it even easier to put offenders behind bars for life instead of seeking the death penalty.
We are encouraged by Pfeifer’s change of heart, as well as similar sentiments being echoed in Ohio and around the nation that the death penalty is a costly, inefficient, unjust, and unnecessary system that needs to be eliminated.
Photo of Ohio Justice Paul Pfeifer courtesy of AP via Cincinnati.com