Archive for October, 2013

Morality aside, death penalty far more costly than life terms

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Morality aside, death penalty far more costly than life terms. In the 2005, jurors in FranklinCounty, Ohio, were asked 4 times whether the death penalty should be imposed. On Sept. 27, convicted killer Herman Ashworth was executed for a murder he committed in Newark.

The morality of the death penalty is a subject of debate, but maybe there is a better question to ask: Is the death penalty cost-efficient? Few in-depth cost studies have been done on this, but most information suggests that ...

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All of society pays a price for adherence to death penalty

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It’s déjà vu all over again.  Romell Broom, convicted of murdering 14 year-old Tryna Middleton in 1984, is appealing his death warrant.  Because he was already subjected to one botched attempt at lethal injection, his lawyers argue that a second attempt would violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

On December 8, 2009, Kenneth Biros was executed with a new drug, used for the first time in Ohio. Prior to his execution, his lawyers argued unsuccessfully before the ...

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Save millions by killing Ohio’s death penalty

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How many Ohio businesses run their operations with little regard for the expenditure of time and money? Ohio ignores both every time it sends an inmate to death row.

Richard Beasley, the so-called Craigslist killer, was sentenced to death on April 4, 2013, for murdering three men. Based on the average stay on death row for Ohio inmates, if Beasley is executed, his execution date could be as far off as November of 2032. Gauging from his physical appearance, he may ...

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Get fair pricing back in health care

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Health care in America is a mess, and the presidential candidates offer a variety of ways to fix the problem, but they all seem to leave out one thing: putting consumers back in charge of making their own decisions about medical care. Right now, in large part it is the medical insurers who control health care.

In conversations with family practitioners, I have learned two things. The first is that reimbursement rates for their services have stayed the same for the ...

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Don’t give tort reform too much credit

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The Ohio Department of Insurance reports that the number of medical-malpractice suits decreased from 5,051 in 2005 to 4,006 in 2006. Is this the result of the tort-reform law that caps noneconomic damages? Maybe, or perhaps what we are witnessing is the result of a national effort to reduce hospital errors. In 2005, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement launched the 100,000 Lives Campaign, a nationwide initiative to reduce preventable deaths in hospitals, with a goal of saving 100,000 lives over ...

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Tort system isn’t pushing medical costs

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Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, along with others, criticized healthcare reform in 2009 for not dealing with malpractice claims.  Steele and others see the tort system as a significant factor in rising healthcare costs, including malpractice insurance premiums. To be complete, they contend that healthcare reform must include tort reform.

It’s an attractive argument but without supporting evidence. A Government Accountability Office study completed in June 2003 concluded that, while increased losses paid by insurers appeared to be ...

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Electing judges often results in political taint

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Two events in2009 illustrates what happens when money and politics are involved with the selection of judges. The first is a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that mimics John Grisham’s novel, The Appeal, and the other is Gov. Ted Strickland’s appointment of two judges last week.

The reality version of The Appeal concerns Don Blankenship, chief executive officer of A.T. Massey Coal Co., who almost single-handedly changed the composition of the West Virginia Supreme Court by supporting Brent Benjamin against incumbent ...

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There’s a better way to get better judges

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In an op-ed piece published in May, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor concluded that, based on a poll, “there is widespread agreement that we should elect our judges.” Believing it futile to advocate merit appointment but seeing some change as necessary, she has proposed eight changes to the judicial election system. In a piece published on July 13, 2013, attorney Bret A. Adams bitterly criticized judicial elections for producing incompetent judges.

So, what’s really going on?  First, let’s look ...

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Torture leads us back to Vietnam

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When the U.S. government acknowledged in 2009 that enemy combatants captured in Iraq and Afghanistan were tortured, two questions arose.  Was torture justified, and should we punish those responsible for approving torture?

The first question is difficult to answer, for the evidence is inconclusive as to whether torture has produced much information of any worth.  Some maintain we gained valuable information through torture.  Others contend that the information obtained by torture might have been procured through other means.

So, if the answer to the ...

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Limit corruption by limiting money

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Congressional Republicans tell us we need a constitutional amendment that requires a balanced budget. They’re right about the need for an amendment but wrong about the subject. We need an amendment that limits campaign contributions. Only then will sanity and adult discussions return to Congress.

The problem starts with the role of money within the parties. To rise in stature, legislators have to support their party, both by vote and with fundraising. Loyalty to the party means appointment to key committees, ...

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