OPPA testifies on SMI exemption from the death penalty bill
Megan Testa, MD, Chair of the OPPA Government Relations Committee, provided proponent testimony before members of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Tues., March 7, on Senate Bill 40. This bipartisan piece of legislation would exclude individuals with serious mental illness from the death penalty just as individuals with intellectual disabilities and juveniles are currently exempted.
In delivering testimony, Dr. Testimony stated:
As a psychiatrist, looking at the definition of severe mental illness, two things are apparent. First, given the very narrow list of qualifying diagnoses, only a fraction of individuals with mental illnesses in Ohio would qualify diagnostically. Second, because S.B. 40 does not create a categorical exemption, among those individuals who qualified diagnostically, an even smaller fraction would qualify functionally for exclusion based on diminished culpability.
Dr. concluded by saying:
As psychiatric physicians, the OPPA believes that individuals who, because of SMI, lacked the capacity to exercise rational judgment in relation to conduct, to conform his/her conduct to the requirements of law, or to appreciate the nature, consequences or wrongfulness of his/her conduct, at the time of commission of a crime, should not be put to death by the state of Ohio.
See related story reported on previously in e-Insight update