Death is the ultimate penalty, but are its days numbered? The irrevocable sentence: Reflections of a governor after deciding on numerous requests for clemency.
When I ran for governor in 1998, I did not give a lot of thought to the heavy responsibility I would be assuming for deciding on requests for clemency in death penalty cases. I suspect I was similar to other candidates for governor in this respect.
The first case came to me for decision just two months into my first term. It would be the first Ohio execution in 36 years. Ohio’s death penalty statute had twice been declared unconstitutional and had been reinstated in 1981. It took many years for cases to make their way through the court system to a final determination.
Wilford Berry was described as a “volunteer”; he stated he was ready to die for his crime and had waived his appeal rights. There was no apparent question about his guilt and no basis for granting clemency. That didn’t make the matter any easier. The lights of TV vans outside the governor’s residence in Columbus were shining through the windows of the room where I sat before a telephone that was connected to the prison in Lucasville. I had to be immediately available in the event the “volunteer” changed his mind and decided to pursue his rights of appeal. In that case the execution would be stayed.
Wilford Berry’s execution went forward as scheduled. And as I sat with two aides in the dining room of the residence that evening, it suddenly struck me: The State of Ohio had terminated the life of a human being; the executive branch carried out the death sentence, and I was the chief executive. It was pursuant to law and due process; it was obviously not murder, but I felt somehow complicit in a dire and irrevocable act.
During my two terms as governor, I decided on requests for clemency in 26 cases. Clemency might involve a pardon or commutation of the death sentence to a lesser one. Any governor will tell you that making these decisions is one of the hardest and loneliest parts of the job. I spent many hours poring over case records to make sure no error in law or fact had occurred that would justify clemency. Death is an irrevocable sentence; there is no going back. I was never really comfortable with this responsibility.
At the same time, I was aware that the people of Ohio, through their elected legislators, had enacted the death penalty statute. The death sentence could be imposed only for certain heinous crimes by a jury of citizens who first considered guilt or innocence and then, if a guilty verdict was rendered, weighed aggravating and mitigating factors. Appeals in such cases were interminable, moving through layers of state and federal courts, assuring a high level of scrutiny over what had happened at the trial court level.
Although there is properly a focus on the rights of the accused in death penalty cases, the horrible fates of the victims and their families must also be borne in mind. As I read the cases presented to me, I learned about disabled and helpless victims murdered senselessly and perpetrators such as Jeffrey Lundgren who executed five innocent people, including three children, in cult murders in northern Ohio.
I felt that clemency should be an extraordinary remedy, to be granted only when there is a clear question about the guilt of the accused or the unfairness of procedures followed by the legal system. I commuted a death sentence to life imprisonment in only one case and granted several reprieves in another case. In the case of Jerome Campbell, DNA evidence came to light after the trial which I concluded might have influenced how the jury viewed the case, resulting in a different verdict.
Considering the cases that came to me and developments after I left office in 2007, I believe the days of the death penalty may be numbered, in Ohio and across the country. The U.S. Constitution bars “cruel and unusual punishment.” In one of the last executions during my term in office, since the convicted person had been a drug user, it was extremely difficult to find a vein in which to insert the lethal injection. The execution took an agonizing 40 minutes. Federal courts have declared moratoriums on the death penalty in Ohio due to complications such as this one.
Questions have been raised about whether the death penalty can be administered consistently and without discrimination across Ohio’s 88 counties. Moreover, death penalty cases drag on through one appellate level after another, putting years, even decades, between the date of the crime and the date of punishment; the death sentence is certainly not swift punishment. The death penalty is very costly to administer; lengthy trial and appellate procedures put a burden on county and state governments to pay for lawyers, judges and jails.
Ohio prosecutors have been seeking the death penalty less frequently since the life-without-parole option was created by the legislature in 1996 as an alternative sentencing option. In 2013, Ohio prosecutors filed only nine death penalty cases, the fewest since capital punishment was reinstated in 1981; and in the last decade, death penalty cases are down by more than 40 percent compared to the previous decade. It may be time to ask the question whether the death penalty in Ohio is a “dead man walking.”
Bob Taft, a distinguished research associate at the University of Dayton, was governor of Ohio, 1999-2007.
Learn more about 2015 Rites. Rights. Writes. events.
Read about a Last Suppers exhibit at the Dayton Art Institute.No Comments
I remember feeling at home the moment I walked onto campus.
As the familiar strains of the hymn, “We are Called,” filled the chapel at the opening day Mass of my presidency, I felt so welcomed by the Marianists, students, faculty, staff and alumni. I felt so inspired by the University’s powerful heritage and sense of mission.
As a community, I knew we were poised to do great things together — to make a bold leap forward. In the Marianist tradition, we would build upon our core values, read the signs of the times and embrace the power of possibility.
Today, 12 years later, I feel the same way. This is my home. And the University of Dayton is fulfilling that promise of greatness.
That’s why this is the ideal time to look for a new leader to take our University forward. In December, I announced that I would step down as president in June 2016 after a 14-year tenure. The board of trustees has initiated a national search for my successor.
Two years ago, a reporter looked at the growth of the University’s physical size and academic prestige and noted, “The pace of change has been among the most rapid and substantial seen at any American university.”
When I became president in 2002, I inherited a university on the move from longtime president Brother Ray Fitz, S.M., and discovered a community willing to ask the big questions and seek out answers together. I have been humbled and privileged to be the steward of such a remarkable legacy and to be able to continue our historic upward momentum.
When other universities stepped back and froze faculty positions during the recession, we stepped forward and hired some of the brightest minds in the country.
We didn’t turn away from the brownfield and vacant corporate headquarters on our border, but instead embraced the potential. We felt confident community and government partners would help us secure the funding to bring new life to that land. Today, that land is the canvas for the future and will benefit generations of students.
This fall, we welcomed our largest, most academically prepared first-year class. Faculty, staff and students gathered in the Central Mall as George and Amanda Hanley, through their Chicago foundation, committed $12.5 million — the largest gift in school history — to support curricular innovations in sustainability. We honored Brother Ray by renaming the College Park Center as Raymond L. Fitz Hall, and community and state leaders helped us break ground on Emerson Climate Technologies’ $35 million global innovation center at the corner of Main and Stewart streets.
As I reflect on my presidency, I am most proud of the cumulative successes of our students, alumni, faculty and staff. You have spread the University of Dayton’s excellence and reputation around the world.
Our work together isn’t finished.
I will continue to advocate for social justice and sustainability, which stem from our religious mission to stand with the poor and promote the common good. With the help of alumni and friends, we will raise funds to renovate Chaminade Hall as a home for the Human Rights Center and the Hanley Sustainability Institute.
In 2016, I will take a sabbatical, then return to the students and classrooms I love and continue to build the University’s international relationships, particularly in China.
The Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, founder of the Society of Mary, inspires us to be visionaries — to create our moment in history, to act upon this University’s strong foundation of educational innovation and deep faith.
That’s our calling.1 Comment
If Tyrone Power were alive today, the dark-eyed Hollywood luminary and one-time University of Dayton student would surely be dogged mercilessly by camera-toting paparazzi. After all, the dashing star not only starred in scores of hit movies but rode motorcycles, dated his co-stars and was married three times. His uncle even skimmed money from his film royalties, leaving the actor destitute and financially reliant — gasp — on his second wife, herself a film starlet.
Indeed, in a fall 1939 issue of the Exponent, UD’s student magazine, a survey of coeds listed Power as their fourth most-favorite movie actor. (He was bested by Errol Flynn, Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper.)
Those fans may have had the right idea. Power made dozens of films and was, during a 44-year tenure in Hollywood, called mystical, darkly handsome, a glorious matinee idol and rather tragically, “forgettable,” said Kevin Sandler, associate professor of film and
media studies at Arizona State University. “He was an enormous star that few people remember,” Sandler said.
Born in 1914 in Cincinnati, the scion of an acting dynasty that included his father, Tyrone Sr., and his comedian grandfather, Power attended for one year at St. Mary’s Institute for Boys, UD’s preparatory school.
Although he eventually graduated from Purcell High School in Cincinnati in 1931, his days in Dayton weren’t forgotten. When the Flyer football team traveled to California in November 1939 to face the St. Mary’s Gaels, Power hosted the contingent. Wrote longtime Dayton Daily News sports editor Si Burick, “… that was a great party that Alumnus Tyrone Power gave the boys on the Twentieth Century lot in movieland.” (Read more about the trip on UDQuickly.)
Power’s father helped him land a small role in The Merchant of Venice in 1931, but it wasn’t until 1936, when Power appeared onscreen in the movie Girls’ Dormitory, that his wild good looks snared the attention of a legion of swooning fans.
20th Century Fox saw the writing on the wall and signed Power to a multiyear contract.
He began landing roles in swashbuckling films like Jesse James and The Black Swan. But Power languished still. In a review of his performance in 1940’s The Mark of Zorro, writer Bosley Crowther said, “Mr. Power rather overdoes his swishing, and his swash is more beautiful than bold.”
“He didn’t transcend the limitations of his movies like other good-looking actors from that era,” Sandler noted.
Power joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942 and served for several years as a pilot flying cargo in for troops fighting in the Battle of Iwo Jima. “He was, however, impressive in that right,” Sandler said.
After his stint in the military, Power returned to Hollywood and married his second wife, Linda Christian. They had two children, Romina and Taryn. In 1958, Power suffered a massive heart attack while filming a sword-fighting scene for Solomon and Sheba. He died en route to the hospital.
“Ironically, he earned his best reviews for Witness for the Prosecution,” Sandler said. “It was the last movie he completed before he died.”
Tyrone Power would have turned 100 years old this year.No Comments
A book by David J. Ulbrich ’93.
A medium-length military textbook was needed to fill a void in the market, and Ulbrich met that demand, using knowledge from a history degree to cowrite a comprehensive overview of America’s military history. It can easily be covered during a 15-week college course, and the additional Web-based materials are convenient for classroom use, Ulbrich said. Since publication, it has become required reading in the U.S. Air Force Academy. “War is terrible,” he said, “but we use it to avoid things that are worse than war. Down the line, these students may look back to reading this book about the past and apply it to the present.”No Comments
A book by Emily Strand ’05.
Mass 101: Liturgy and Life outlines the basics of Mass and guides readers through the Catholic tradition of worship. “This book is written not for scholars but for average people who want to deepen their understanding of the Mass,” she said. As a campus minister and director of liturgy at UD for seven years, Strand was excited to put her knowledge and experience into the book. “I spent so much time, thought and prayer on how to prepare students for their participation in the Mass as liturgical ministers,” she said. “I was happy to use that again and put it all in one place.”No Comments
A book by Jeannette M. Adkins ’81
When Lily Lightning Bug has her glow stolen by two bigger bugs, she’s plunged into a world of fear and uncertainty — and that’s before she has to navigate the intimidating criminal justice system. Adkins, who has worked in crime victim services for more than 30 years, wrote her book to support children who are victims or witnesses of a crime, and victim’s advocates often read the book with children to help prepare them for the process of testifying. “The book references sexual abuse, but placing the story in the world of bugs makes the concept easier for children to understand and be interested in,” Adkins said.No Comments
A book by James Herbert ’63.
Full of letters from Herbert to today’s young adults, the author uses his lengthy career experience in New York City and Washington, D.C., to offer advice to the next generation. He’s been there, done that, and now he’s cheering them
on. Herbert wanted to write to young adults, not about them, he said, to explain what a liberal arts education is actually good for in the real world. “You know how to make good things happen in the world. You could choose to work against the system — how the work world works — or to conform to it, but you don’t have to make that choice,” he said.
At the announcement, there was a gasp from the crowd followed by a long ovation — sustained clapping for the new Hanley Sustainability Institute.
The campus community gathered in the Central Mall Sept. 19 to hear of the $12.5 million gift from George Hanley, a 1977 business graduate and member of the University of Dayton board of trustees, and his wife, Amanda Hanley, to support the University’s goal to become a national leader in sustainability education. It is the largest single gift in University history.
President Daniel J. Curran said the gift is an investment in the future of our planet from a couple who is passionate about environmental protection and the common good.
“At many universities, sustainability education is focused solely on the environmental sciences,” Curran said. “This gift will extend sustainability education across multiple disciplines. We’re deeply grateful to the Hanleys for their generosity and vision.”
Initial plans for the institute include developing an interdisciplinary graduate certificate in sustainability; creating an urban agriculture demonstration project with community partners; establishing Hanley Research Fellows and Hanley Scholars-in-Residence to support student and faculty research; and inaugurating the Hanley Conference on Sustainability Education. The goal is for the University to become the top-rated Catholic university on the STARS (Sustainability
Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) list for sustainability in higher education.
Noted Curran, “Sustainability is really a philosophy that stems from our Catholic, Marianist mission. It’s about how we protect the poor and vulnerable in our world. It’s about respecting human dignity. It’s about promoting the common good. In this respect the new Hanley Sustainability Institute complements our commitments in human rights research and education.”
The Hanleys took the podium to express their support for good work already achieved by the University community.
“My time here has affected … my life in so many ways,” George Hanley said. “This gift is about providing students, faculty and staff with the resources to solve the problems our world faces but also to take advantage of the opportunities.”
Added Amanda Hanley: “We are thrilled with UD’s national leadership and hope one day interdisciplinary sustainability education will run deep at every university.”
Ryan Schuessler, senior mechanical engineering student and director of the University’s 2014 Sustainability Week, said he’s seen interest in sustainability take off.
“A record number of first-year students selected sustainability as their learning-living community this year,” Schuessler said. “The sustainability movement is growing so fast. Students are looking for ways to link academics with action.”
Senior Saehan Lenzen is a mechanical engineering major with both a minor in sustainability and a concentration in energy systems.
“There’s so much passion for sustainability, and now we have the support for what we need to do. This pushes me toward staying [at UD] longer,” for a graduate degree, she said.
With the Hanleys’ lead gift, the University will launch a comprehensive campaign to raise additional funds from foundations, corporations and other donors to bring total funding for the institute to $25 million.
About the Hanleys
The Chicago couple have long been generous donors to the University. In 2007, they established the Hanley Trading Center in the University’s School of Business Administration. A recent gift supported the University’s ETHOS program, which allows students to use their engineering skills to implement locally sustainable technologies for humanitarian purposes around the world.
George Hanley is best known for founding Chicago-based Hanley Group, which was acquired by INTLFCStone, and for his membership at the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange, now CME Group. He presently serves as a co-founder and principal of Level 5 Trading.
Amanda Hanley is a strong advocate of environmental protection and innovative ideas for a healthier planet, people and economy. She has been working toward sustainable solutions for more than 25 years, serves on various environmental
boards, and frequently blogs about green issues.
George and Amanda Hanley created their family foundation in 1997. It has come to support organizations that are advancing environmental, educational and social empowerment solutions, both on a local and global scale. They are particularly drawn to innovative models in sustainability that can lead to wider systemic change and greater impact.No Comments
As children, we’re taught to sing about twinkling little stars and wonder how they are; we learn to wish upon them; we hope to catch those that fall and put them in our pockets.
But what doesn’t often get included in these lessons is how to find the stars and their constellations. One University of Dayton class seeks to change that.
Andrea Massimilian ’14 took the stargazing class, taught by Brother Dan Klco, S.M. ’92, during her senior year. Today she is a first-year fellow in the Orr Entrepreneurial Fellowship program.
For those of us outside the classroom, here’s your own ticket to stardom.
1. Know when to be in or out. Klco structured his classes around three different scenarios based on cloud coverage. “If there was complete cloud coverage, we would be learning in the classroom about the night sky and constellations,” Massimilian recalled. “If there was partial visibility, we would be in the classroom for part of the time and then work with a telescope. On the nights where there was no cloud coverage, we would go to a farm about 40 minutes away and view parts of the solar system, like Jupiter and Mars.”
2. Take a field trip. The best way to view stars is away from the “Dayton bubble,” Klco says; the campus and city give off too much ambient light, preventing many stars from being seen. True stargazers find a dark area away from any lights like the farm where Klco takes his class. There are also other ways to view stars around Dayton. “We took a field trip to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery’s planetarium and got a private tour of the gigantic telescope there that is open to the public on Friday nights,” Massimilian said.
3. Know the constellations of the season. The constellations change from season to season based on the orbit of the Earth. “Most people know that in summer you see the Little Dipper and Big Dipper, but where are they in the winter?” Massimilian said. You can visit websites, like stardate.org, to look up what constellations can be found in each time of year.
4. Do not mistake your stars. The gospels of Luke and Matthew tell the story of the Nativity of Jesus. An important element of the story is the Star of Bethlehem, or Christmas Star, which guides the three Magi from the East to Jesus. They bless him with gifts and receive a divine warning to not return to Herod. It is not uncommon to hear people confuse the Star of Bethlehem with the North Star, which many people also associate with guiding slaves to freedom during the Civil War era. Since it is unlikely Jesus was born Dec. 25, it is hard to know what in the sky was the brightest the night he was born, she said.
5. Apps are your friends. Klco provided his students with several websites and apps for them to resource throughout the semester, like Star Chart and Night Sky Lite. They benefit users by helping them pinpoint constellations in the sky. “If you open the app on your phone and point the camera at the sky, the app will outline the constellations and identify them for you,” Massimilian said.No Comments
As holiday festivities rolled around, alumni in Milwaukee were laser-focused on the big event: Christmas (Off Campus, that is).
This season, their community served dinner at the Guest House of Milwaukee, a men’s homeless shelter. It’s one of a series of yuletide projects alumni like Susan Timms Cantwell ’86 have looked forward to year after year.
“We’ve volunteered with the shelter for the last four years, and I love seeing residents engaged through cookie decorating and ornament making,” said Cantwell, who’s been active with the Milwaukee group for 15 years.
One year, there was a day spent sorting shelter donations; another year, the crew helped stage a performance of the Nativity with children at a local church, complete with costumes and set direction. Another time,
Flyers hosted a Christmas party at the Boys and Girls Club, dressing up in animal masks and diving into ornament decorating.
“My husband and I both went to UD,” Cantwell said. “I love to share the feeling I got while being at school. The memories, the emotional nostalgia and the love from growing up on campus is why I drag everyone I can over to Dayton.”
Community leader Jennifer Johnson ’07 made a beeline for the group as soon as she moved to Milwaukee in 2013.
“The opportunity to combine my passion for Milwaukee and UD was a no-brainer,” she said. “My goal as community leader is to make sure I’m easily available to area alumni and perpetuating a learn, lead and serve lifestyle.”
So what’s a Milwaukee community to do the other 364 days a year? Continue coming together with purpose. They frequent businesses unique to southern Wisconsin — like the Lakefront Brewery, where every tour ends with a round of the Laverne & Shirley TV show theme song — and those with Flyer connections, like Purple Door Ice Cream, owned by Lauren McCoy Schultz ’01.
From reindeer cookies to musical pints, Milwaukee alumni say the best part about getting together is seeing the Marianist values they learned on campus living outside Dayton.
Save us a seat.
There’s a lake, the northern climate and three horticultural domes. So, which season is your favorite for experiencing Milwaukee?
“The very beginning of summer. There is such an excitement then. There might still be crispness in the air from spring, but everyone is outside and ready to take on all things Milwaukee.”
—Lauren McCoy Schultz ’01
“I love our area. My favorite season is fall, but I can describe my favorite things about here, regardless of season, to anyone, anytime.”
—Carrie Ballard ’01
“While the recent display of beautiful fall color tried to sway me, in summer Milwaukee shines brightest. Residents get Summerfest’s selection of musical acts, cultural festivals and the opportunity to take full advantage of our Great Lake
by boat or beach. Summer is the best time to take in a play in the woods at Spring Green’s American Players Theatre after touring the grounds of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin estate.”
—Greg Calhoun ’08