Wednesday, May 20, 2009


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Frequently Asked Question Page.

Executive Clemency can only be granted by the Governor of the State of Ohio. Section 2967.07 of the Ohio Revised Code requires that all applications for clemency be made in writing to the Adult Parole Authority. The Ohio Parole Board is the bureau of the Adult Parole Authority assigned to process clemency applications. The Governor may also direct the Parole Board to investigate and examine any case for the propriety of clemency.
Upon completion of its examination, the Parole Board sends a report to the governor providing a summary of the facts in the case, a recommendation for or against the granting of clemency, and the reasoning behind the recommendation. Clemency can be in the form of a pardon, commutation, or reprieve:


A pardon is the remission of a penalty. It is an act of grace or forgiveness that relieves the person pardoned from some or all of the ramifications of lawful punishment. A pardon may be conditional or unconditional.


Commutation is the substitution of a lesser for a greater punishment. A commutation may be conditional or unconditional.


A reprieve is the temporary postponement of the execution of a sentence.
The granting of clemency has historically been infrequent and should not be considered a routine post-conviction remedy. Only the person seeking clemency or their legal representative can apply for clemency.

For Clemency Hearing Dates;

For published clemency reports;

Parole Board;

Parole Board Members


Past clemency decisions;

    Year 1991
    Debra Brown
    Rosalie Grant
    Elizabeth Green
    Leonard Jenkins
    Willie Jester
    Beatrice Lampkin
    Donald Lee Maurer
    Lee Seiber

    Reason for Decision
    Citing a "disturbing racial pattern" in death sentencing, Gov. Richard Celeste granted clemency to eight death row inmates as he was leaving office. Celeste stated that he selected cases based on the inmates' crimes, the fairness of sentences, mental health and IQ, and length of time served.

    Year 2003
    Jerome Campbell

    Reason for Decision
    Governor Taft concurred with the Pardon and Parole Board recommendation based on doubts regarding DNA evidence unavailable at trial.
    (Associated Press, June 26, 2003).
    See also; 2003: Saving a Life
    The Story: “Bloody Shoes and Snitches,” issue of April 9, 2003

    Year 2008
    John Spirko

    Reason for Decision
    Gov. Ted Strickland reduced Spirko's death sentence to life without parole. In his statement granting clemency, the governor cited "the lack of physical evidence linking him to the murder, as well as the slim residual doubt about his responsibility for the murder that arises from careful scrutiny of the case record." (Warrant of Commutation, Governor of Ohio, January 9, 2008)

    Year 2009
    Jeffrey Hill

    Reason for decision
    Governor Ted Strickland commuted Hill's death sentence to 25 years to life, following the Ohio Parole Board's unanimous recommendation that Hill not be put to death. In granting clemency, Gov. Strickland expressed his agreement with the board's findings: "the views of the victim’s family, the lack of adequate representation by counsel at Mr. Hill’s sentencing, the remorse demonstrated by Mr. Hill regarding his actions, the lack of proportionality of the sentence of death in this case when compared with similar murder cases, and the expressed views of two justices of the Ohio Supreme Court which reviewed this case on appeal." (Governor's Statement Regarding Clemency Application of Jeffrey D. Hill, February 12, 2009).

    On June 4, 2010, Governor Ted Strickland, in agreement with the recommendation from the Ohio Parole Board, commuted the sentence of inmate Richard Nields to life without the possibility of parole.

    Kevin Keith
    On September 2, 2010, Governor Ted Strickland commuted the sentence of inmate Kevin Keith to life without the possibility of parole.

    Sidney Cornwell
    On November 15, 2010, Governor Ted Strickland commuted the sentence of inmate Sidney Cornwell to life without the possibility of parole.

    Shawn Hawkins
    On June 8, 2011, Governor John Kasich commuted the sentence of Shawn Hawkins to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Joseph Murphy
    On September 26, 2011, Governor John Kasich commuted the death sentence of Joseph Murphy to life without parole.


    Please see Ohio Scheduled Executions for a list of inmate pages that may have ongoing clemency actions. When a clemency petition becomes available we place a link to it on each inmates page.


    In addition to signing online petitions, emails and written letters to the parole board, the governor, and his adviser, on behalf of the inmates with execution dates are encouraged. Include the inmates name and inmate number on your correspondence and send to:

    Ohio Parole Board 
    770 West Broad Street
    Columbus, Ohio 43222

    Governor Kasich
    Riffe Center, 30th Floor
    77 South High Street
    Columbus, OH 43215-6108

    Phone: (614) 466-3555
    Fax: (614) 466-9354


    Additional Resource; Ohio Parole Board Guidelines Manual (65 pages; effective July 1, 2007) you may download this document as a PDF file from this site. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these documents.


    Additional source;

    Links to Clemency Petitions can be emailed to;


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