Started 4 petitions
Stop the Execution of Warren "Keith" Henness
Keith Henness is scheduled to be executed at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville on February 13, 2019 at 10 am. Keith’s case in yet another reminder of the systemic flaws with Ohio’s death penalty system. Keith Henness’ trial lawyers did virtually no work defending him: Lead counsel logged fewer than 12 hours investigating the case during the sixteen months before trial. Counsel did not investigate or hire mitigation specialists to defend Keith. Lingering doubts exist today, evidence was destroyed Both co-defendants had histories of violence, substance abuse and motive for killing Richard Myers. Keith had no history of violence and no motive for the crime. Finger prints and blood samples taken from the crime scene did not match Keith. The lead detective on the case instructed the crime lab to destroy the forensic evidence after the trial during Keith’s appeal. The only evidence used to convict Keith came from the two co-defendants. Keith’s death sentence is an outlier that never should have occurred Franklin County data show from 1990-1995, 98% of indicted aggravated murder cases did not receive the death penalty. Of the 109 indictments eligible for the death penalty, only 2 actual death sentences were given. Keith Henness was one. Because Keith did not trust his trial lawyers, he did not agree to a plea deal offered by prosecutors for 20 years-life. Keith Henness is the first person scheduled for execution under newly-elected Governor Mike DeWine. Call the governor and urge him not to execute Keith Henness. Call Gov. DeWine at (614) 466-3555 and tell him he should grant clemency to Keith based on ineffective trial lawyers, lingering doubts about co-defendants and data clearly demonstrating his death sentence is unfair. Click here to read more about Keith’s case
Clemency for Ray Tibbetts, Take action now!
The State of Ohio is planning to execute Ray Tibbetts but Governor Kasich has the power to stop this unjust execution by granting clemency. Please take action today and ask the Governor to commute Ray's death sentence to life without the possibility of parole to fix a serious failure of the legal system in his case. An original juror from Ray Tibbetts’ trial wrote the Governor [LINK: http://bit.ly/2BHI5VI] that he would not have voted for death had the defense and prosecution presented accurate information about Ray’s traumatic and abusive childhood at trial. Under Ohio law, one juror has the power to prevent a death sentence. If the system had not failed, Ray Tibbetts would not be facing execution. After hearing testimony from the juror, a majority of the Ohio Parole Board nevertheless voted against recommending clemency for Ray Tibbetts. Only Governor Kasich can now correct the breakdown in our criminal justice system by granting clemency and giving Ray Tibbetts the life sentence he would have received if the jurors had been told the evidence in the first place. Ray Tibbetts never should have been sent to death row. Executing him now would irreparably harm the integrity of our justice system. Call Governor Kasich today at 614-466-3555 and urge him to correct this mistake by granting clemency to Ray Tibbetts. As the juror wrote to the Governor, "if we are going to have a legal process that can send criminals to death that includes a special phase for mitigation shouldn't we get it right?" After you call, please sign our petition to make clear that Mr. Tibbetts should not be executed. Background on Mr. Tibbetts’ Case: Mr. Tibbetts was abused and abandoned his entire childhood. His home was filled with violence and neglect. He and his siblings were removed to a foster home where they were terribly treated: brutally tied to the beds, malnourished, and beaten. The State not only failed to protect Mr. Tibbetts, but it made things worse by placing him in foster homes where he was further mistreated and then ignored warning signs of the abuse happening there. Mr. Tibbetts predictably turned to drugs and alcohol to escape this trauma, and despite genuine efforts to overcome his addictions, never received appropriate treatment that addressed his underlying mental health problems or his substance abuse. After finally achieving a period of sobriety in which he was gainfully employed and supporting his young family, he suffered a workplace injury and was inappropriately prescribed opioids, precipitating a devastating relapse that ended with the tragic deaths of the victims in the case. This is all compelling support for sparing his life, but his jurors were told virtually none of it. Neither the single witnesses called on his behalf nor his attorneys could give the juror specifics about what they vaguely called his “horrible childhood,” and they didn’t put on friends and family who were available at the time to share their personal testimony about Mr. Tibbetts’ upbringing. And then, the prosecutors implied the defense was lying about the bad childhood and said that Mr. Tibbetts’ time in foster care was happy and that his siblings that had suffered the same abuse but turned out fine. His deficient counsel didn’t even know the available records and evidence well enough to show that none of that was true. The Juror Comes Forward: After reading the truth about Mr. Tibbetts’ background, Ross Geiger, a juror from Mr. Tibbetts’ original trial, bravely came forward and expressed his concerns about moving forward with the execution in a letter to the Governor. Mr. Geiger is firm in his conviction that he would have voted for a life sentence had he known all of the mitigating evidence about Mr. Tibbetts’ life. In Ohio, just one juror’s vote for a life sentence makes someone ineligible for the death penalty. Mr. Tibbetts would never have ended up on death row if his attorneys had presented the evidence that was available to them at the time of trial. Back in February of this year, Governor Kasich did the right thing by asking the Parole Board to seriously consider the implications of Ross Geiger’s statement that he would not have voted for the death penalty had he known the facts about Mr. Tibbetts’ traumatic childhood and impact on his and his siblings’ development as adults. Additional info: It is a grave injustice to execute a person when the integrity of the judicial system has been so greatly called into question. Mr. Geiger’s testimony proves that had Mr. Tibbetts’ defense counsel presented available mitigating evidence and corrected the prosecution’s misrepresentation of the facts, he would not have voted for the death penalty, meaning Mr. Tibbetts would have never received a death sentence. The Governor can decide to independently remedy the failure in the system highlighted by Mr. Geiger by granting clemency. He should take this opportunity to exercise his leadership in restoring faith in our criminal justice system when such terrible breakdowns do occur.
End the Death Penalty in New Hampshire
By nearly a 2-1 margin, the Republican-controlled New Hampshire legislature has voted to repeal the death penalty. Now the bill goes to Governor Chris Sununu, who has threatened to veto it. It is more important than ever to let the Governor know that the death penalty is irrevocably broken and New Hampshire doesn't need it. Sign the petition to Governor Sununu today. Tell the Governor to sign the bill and repeal the death penalty. Governor Sununu says he believes that, in vetoing the bill, he is standing with all law enforcement and murder victim family members. It's our job to tell him that this is not the case. The death penalty is a failed policy, proving costly, ineffective, harmful, and unnecessary. The State is spending millions of dollars on a death penalty that does nothing to make people safer - dollars that could be better spent on services for victims' families and real violence prevention. Take action today! To New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu: The death penalty doesn’t belong in New Hampshire. Please sign SB593, or allow it to become law, and end the death penalty in New Hampshire once and for all.
Too much doubt to execute Montgomery
Despite maintaining his innocence before, during, and since his trial, William T. Montgomery has been on death row for over 31 years for the 1986 murders of Cynthia Tincher and Debra Ogle in Lucas County, Ohio. Even in light of significant doubts about his guilt, Montgomery is scheduled to be executed on April 11, 2018. Key concerns include: 1. No credible evidence ties Montgomery to the murders. Facts in the case point to other suspects who were never seriously investigated. 2. Prosecutors withheld evidence including police reports, tips about alternative suspects, physical evidence implicating the co-defendant, and eyewitness accounts that a second car was parked next to Ms. Tincher's car just before she was killed. This information undermines the state's entire theory of the murders. 3. The only evidence implicating Montgomery in the crime is the testimony from Glover Heard, the co-defendant in the case. Heard received a deal from the prosecution in exchange for his testimony. Heard was sentenced to 15 years to life, while Montgomery was sentenced to death. Heard's story changed five times, and only on the fifth time was Montgomery included in the story. Six years after the conviction, in 1992, Montgomery discovered exculpatory evidence investigators hid at trial. In addition, in 2012, a new forensic review of the autopsy files concludes that scientifically, the first victim could not have been killed as the state claims and disproves the state's entire theory and timeline of the case. There are significant doubts about the validity and reliability of the conviction of William T. Montgomery. Governor John Kasich should not allow the execution on April 11 with so much doubt. The execution of an innocent man is irreversible.