ACLU of Ohio calling for moratorium on executions through 2015
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is calling for a moratorium on executions through 2015. The ACLU based its Wednesday request on the Ohio Parole Board's recommendation that Gov. John Kasich grant clemency to condemned killer Arthur Tyler, who was scheduled to be put to death for the 1983 shooting of a Cleveland produce vendor. Later Wednesday, Kasich commuted Tyler's sentence to life in prison without parole. The ACLU also cited a botched execution Tuesday in Oklahoma in which an inmate died of a heart attack after something went wrong with the lethal injection procedure. Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols says the governor supports the death penalty and takes the responsibility of implementing it seriously.
Former Richmond Heights school officials plead guilty to corruption charges
The former superintendent and another administrator of the Richmond Heights School District have pleaded guilty to corruption charges. Robert Moore admitted to one count each of bribery and theft in office today in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. And the former head of buildings and grounds, Richard Muse, admitted to theft in office and forgery. Both are to be sentenced May 22. The pair were arrested in February after they accepted two payments from an early childhood education center that rented space from the district. Moore and Muse were accused of threatening to end the center’s lease unless they were paid off. Additional charges were filed in March, when they were accused of using district money to pay for a trip to Columbus, and Muse was accused of forging his training certification.
Federal lawsuit seeks to strike down Ohio's gay marriage ban
A lawsuit filed in federal court in Cincinnati seeks to strike down Ohio’s gay marriage ban and to allow same-sex couples to marry in the state. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday on behalf of six gay Ohio couples say they're in love and want to get married. The same law firm that filed Wednesday's lawsuit filed a February lawsuit that led a judge to order Ohio to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. The order is on hold pending Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's forthcoming appeal.
Ex-Ohio prison directors join call to halt Oklahoma executions
Two of the men who oversaw Ohio’s prisons – and executions – are among the former corrections officials nationwide who have signed a letter asking for a moratorium on executions in Oklahoma. The letter submitted after the botched execution of Clayton Lockett Tuesday says, in part, “A career in corrections prepares one to see many things, but the terrible memories of witnessing executions remain in one's psyche forever.” The protest is signed by Reginald Wilkinson, who was director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for 15 years, and by his successor, Terry Collins, who retired in 2010. After their retirements, both men came out publicly in opposition to the death penalty in Ohio.
Dimora sentence upheld in federal appeals court
A federal appeals court has upheld the sentence of former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora. Dimora is serving a 28-year sentence in California for his conviction on 31 corruption charges. Dimora had maintained that U.S. District Judge Sarah Lioi made mistakes during his trial in 2012, including not allowing Dimora to submit state ethics disclosure forms. He argued that those forms made it clear he never tried to hide gifts from contractors and business associates. Prosecutors say the forms amounted to hearsay.
Ohio Contractor's Association files lawsuit against Akron
The Ohio Contractor’s Association is taking the city of Akron to court of its new hiring requirements. The Beacon Journal reports that the group claims city hiring requirements violate both the US and state constitution, as well as the City of Akron Municipal Code. The requirements state that contractors for the city’s $1.4 billion sewer project must hire 30 percent of their employees from within the city this year, increasing by 5 percent per year until 2018 when it will reach 50 percent. The Contractor’s Association is a non-profit group based in Columbus that represents contractors across the state.
Ohio shale industry adds jobs
Ohio added more than 4,000 jobs in the shale drilling industry in the third quarter of 2013, a 51 percent increase from a year earlier. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services released the figures Wednesday that show about 13,000 jobs in the core industries related to oil and gas extraction and pipelines. The agency says jobs in the shale industry are growing faster than the job market as a whole, but are still a relatively small part of the state’s job market. The jobs also fluctuate depending on the season, with the third quarter typically the highest.
Franklin county judge won't stop rideshare company UberX in Columbus
A mobile-app based rideshare service can continue to operate in Columbus, a Franklin County judge ruled Wednesday. The city wanted the judge to issue a permanent injunction against UberX because drivers and their vehicles are not licensed by the city and the potential for safety issues. The Columbus Dispatch reports the judge ruled that UberX has sufficient safety measures and that it would be unfair to halt its business while allowing its competitor, Lyft, to continue operating. The city is also suing Lyft. Both rideshare services recently began operating in Cleveland.
Mumps outbreak reaches 299 cases
Public health officials say a mumps outbreak in central Ohio has reached 299 cases. That's about three-quarters of all the reported cases nationwide. The running total of the cases of the contagious viral illness was reported by Columbus health officials as of Wednesday, with 179 of those linked to Ohio State University. The cases date to early January. Heath officials have advised college, school and even day care leaders to make sure central Ohio students are immunized and to separate them from those who haven't been vaccinated and those who are infected.
Cleveland city council president files complaint about anti-sin tax ad
Cleveland’s City Council president has filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission over what he says is a misleading TV ad about the county’s sin tax. Kevin Kelly says the ad from the group Citizens Against Unfair Taxes claims that the tax on alcohol and cigarettes goes directly to the owners of Cleveland’s pro sports teams. Kelly says the money goes to the county to pay for upgrades and repairs to the city’s three pro sports venues. Kelley filed the complaint on behalf of the Coalition for Greater Cleveland's Future, which is promoting passage of Issue 7 in the May 6th election to extend the sin tax for another 20 years. The complaint also says the anti-sin tax group has failed to disclose where it is getting the bulk of its money to pay for a last-minute television ad campaign. A spokesman for the group tells the Plain Dealer that the ad is accurate and finance reports reflect expenditures made during the reporting period.