Clemency for Ray Tibbetts, Take action now!
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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.
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.
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