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Ohio Capital Punishment Laws

Simply mention the death penalty and it has the ability to polarize people instantly. Indeed, capital punishment has a long and controversial history in the United States. Each state makes its own laws concerning the death penalty -- whether or not it may be used, as well as the method of execution.

Most states, including Ohio, allow capital punishment for the most serious crimes. In Ohio, an inmate may be condemned to death if he or she is charged with aggravated murder in addition to specific circumstances, such as: the murder involved an assassination of a public official, the victim was a peace officer, the murder was committed while the defendant was a prisoner in a detention facility, or he or she was attempting to escape detection, apprehension, trial, or other punishment for another offense.

Ohio previously relied on the gallows (hanging) and the electric chair to execute inmates. Currently, the state uses lethal injection for its executions, although an inmate can request electrocution. Defendants who are mentally incapacitated, pregnant, or who were under 18 years old at the time of the crime’s commission may not be executed.

The basics of capital punishment laws in Ohio are highlighted in the table below. See FindLaw's Death Penalty section for more related articles.

Code Section

2929.02, et seq.; 2949.22, et seq.

Is Capital Punishment Allowed?


Effect of Defendant's Incapacity

Suspend sentence if insane or pregnant

Minimum Age


Available for Crimes Other than Homicide?


Definition of Capital Homicide

Assassination of public official; for hire; escape detection, apprehension, trial or punishment for another offense; committed while a prisoner in detention facility; prior murder convictions or multiple victims now; victim was peace officer; rape, kidnapping, aggravated arson, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary; witness of crime to prevent testimony or retaliation for testimony

Method of Execution

Lethal injection

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact an Ohio criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

For more information on Ohio’s death penalty laws, take a look at the links listed below which lead to related resources. You can also find more information on the topic, in general, by reading through FindLaw’s death penalty section. Finally, consult an Ohio criminal defense attorney if you have more specific questions, or are in need of legal advice or representation.

Ohio Criminal Laws Related Resources:

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