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Ohio Bill Would Spare Severely Mentally Ill From Execution

lethal injection chair
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Current death row inmates could also challenge their sentences on the basis of mental illness at the time of their crimes.

 A former Ohio Supreme Court justice has urged lawmakers to support a bill that would spare from death sentences people judged to suffer from severe mental illness at the time of the killing.

Evelyn Lundberg Stratton says changed attitudes that now prohibit executing juveniles and people with mental disabilities should be expanded to the mentally ill.

Stratton testified Wednesday before the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. The bill would allow a hearing before trial on an offender's mental illness and permit a judge to rule out the death penalty if severe mental illness is proven.

Current death row inmates could also challenge their sentences on the basis of mental illness at the time of their crimes.

Diagnosed illnesses could include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major