Blow to death penalty

The editorial calling for the passage of legislation to exclude those with severe mental illness from the death penalty is grounded in misunderstanding ("Mental illness and executions," April 29).

The Ohio Revised Code provides that “A person is ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’” (NGRI) if “at the time of the commission of the offense, the person did not know, as a result of severe mental disease or defect, the wrongfulness of the person’s acts.” NGRI already excludes those who could not appreciate the wrongfulness of their acts due to severe mental disease. So Ohio is already not executing the severely mentally ill.

This legislation, Senate Bill 54, excludes some other group of offenders — those who did appreciate the wrongfulness of their conduct. It excludes offenders who committed heinous crimes knowing that what they did was wrong. For these offenders, offering evidence of mental illness during the sentencing phase as a mitigating factor is appropriate.

Contrary to another assertion in the editorial, jurors do take evidence of mental illness seriously. Juries are, after all, made up of the same people that the editorial hopes to convince of the need for this legislation — the general public. Yet the editorial assumes that jurors are not wise enough to make the right decision.

What this legislation actually does is end the death penalty in Ohio while allowing legislators to claim that they support the death penalty. What it actually does is create more uncertainty and more pain for the families of victims by allowing everyone currently on death row to file for relief.

Louis Tobin, executive director,

Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association

 

More city assessments

I have lived at my current address in Akron for 36 years with no road improvements and I rarely see a snowplow, but I have paid my taxes on time year after year. Now the city has decided to run a new sewer line down our street, probably because of Environmental Protection Agency mandates and to tie into the new holding tank they built at the end of our road. The real kicker is I am paying higher EPA assessments every month in my water bill and they want to assess me even more for this trunk project.

Haven't I paid enough already, or are they trying to drive the rest of the loyal citizens out, too? I feel like I'm being taxed right out of my home.

Chris Buck, Akron

 

Low-profile Nexus

What is the opposite of sensational?

In the April 30 article published on Ohio.com with the headline “Nexus Pipeline still sticks in craw of Medina County group,” a spokesman for pipeline co-owner Enbridge criticized Sustainable Medina County for its “attempts to sensationalize.”

It appears that Nexus is guilty of the opposite. That is, the Wadsworth compressor station is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. If our government actually cared about greenhouse gases (i.e., raw methane), and local poisons, it would force the station to flare instead of vent.

In that case, on a cloudy night, during a blowdown flare, the county seat of Medina would observe that the sky is lit up on the south horizon. It would look as if the sun were rising in the south instead of the east. It would be a demonstration of how much noxious gas is actually being released. Now, that would be sensational.

In addition, 100 percent of the few Wadsworth neighbors to whom I've talked haven’t even heard of Nexus. Nexus has successfully evaded public awareness.

E.F. Radke, Wadsworth