Blog of Rights

Act Now! Tell Gov. Strickland to Grant Kevin Keith Clemency

By Will Matthews, ACLU of Northern California at 2:42pm

It is more important than ever that Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland grant clemency to Kevin Keith, a 46-year-old man awaiting execution on Ohio’s death row, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit earlier this week denied one of Keith’s final appeals.

Despite overwhelming evidence pointing to his innocence, Keith is scheduled to be put to death Sept. 15. Gov. Strickland has acknowledged that the circumstances of Keith’s case are “troubling,” and since taking office in 2007 has granted clemency to four death row prisoners in Ohio. It is imperative that he do so again. Keith’s attorneys released the following statement this week on the heels of the 6th Circuit’s decision:

"[The] denial by the Sixth Circuit of Kevin Keith's appeal is further reason why Governor Ted Strickland should grant clemency to Mr. Keith. Because of procedural barriers to raising the evidence suppressed by the State, the new evidence of innocence in Mr. Keith's case will never be heard in its entirety by any court or jury. Now, only Gov. Strickland has the power to fully review Mr. Keith's innocence claims.

As Judge Eric Clay pointed out in his separate concurring opinion, 'Even if our jurisprudence has thus far failed to expressly recognize that an innocent person has a constitutional right not to be executed, it is deplorable that this Court has failed and refused in this case to consider and properly address Petitioner's legal arguments in a manner indicating that the Court recognizes that "death is special."'

Because the evidence of Keith's innocence has been uncovered piece by piece, our court system is ill-equipped to resolve the question of his innocence. And without intervention by Governor Strickland, this deplorable adherence to form over substance will result in the execution of an innocent man."

More than 30 former judges and prosecutors, nearly 60 innocence projects and legal organizations, over 100 Ohio faith leaders, leading eyewitness experts and thousands of supporters have called on Gov. Strickland to grant Keith clemency. Add your voice to the swelling chorus by sending a letter to Gov. Strickland today.

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