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Law Prohibiting the Execution of People with SPMI – First Case

Law Prohibiting the Execution of People with SPMI – First Case

The first case in Ohio and the nation under a new law prohibiting the execution of people with serious and persistent mental illness has been decided in Franklin County,

David Braden will be removed from Death Row following a joint agreement between the office of Franklin County Prosecutor Gary Tyack, attorney Kathryn Sandford of the Ohio Public Defender’s Office, and Dublin attorney Steven M. Brown.

Braden will spend the rest of his life in prison with no possibility of parole.

The reason for the action is Braden was diagnosed to have “serious mental illness,” specifically paranoid schizophrenia with delusions when he committed two murders in Columbus in 1998. He was sentenced to death for killing his girlfriend, Denise Roberts, and her father, Ralph Heimlich.

House Bill 136, a new state law long advocated for by the National Alliance for Mental Illness Ohio, was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine on April 12, 2021. The law prevents the state from executing someone who had a persistent mental illness at the time of the crime “that significantly impaired the person’s capacity to exercise rational judgment in relation to the person’s conduct.”

Psychiatrists who examined Braden told the court he was “intimidating, decompensated under stress, and had delusions of being a prophet of God.” He is now being treated in prison with antipsychotic medications.

Ohio is the first state in the U.S. to pass a law banning the execution of the mentally ill. However, similar legislation is pending in other states, including Florida, which is modeling its proposal on Ohio’s law.

Read more about this case on The Columbus Dispatch website at https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/courts/2021/06/24/columbus-murderer-first-inmate-spared-death-penalty-under-new-state-law/5320849001/

 

NAMI Ohio Thanks the Ohio Senate for Protecting the Voice of Ohioans Impacted by Mental Illness

NAMI Ohio Thanks the Ohio Senate for Protecting the Voice of Ohioans Impacted by Mental Illness

NAMI Ohio, “the state’s voice on mental illness,” cannot thank the Ohio Senate enough for approving a 2022/2023 budget that will serve Ohio’s citizens and their families dealing with mental illness.

During the House and Senate budget hearings, changes were made that would have lessened the voice of those living with mental illness and their families. This included muting the voices of families and individuals living with mental illness from community mental health boards. The members of the Ohio Senate heard NAMI Ohio’s plea and removed most of that stigmatizing language.

In addition, Governor DeWine, in his budget, had pledged funding for student wellness. These funds were to be used in schools to address the behavioral problems students may exhibit when returning to the classroom.  The student wellness funds were removed by the House of Representatives but were restored by the Senate. NAMI Ohio wants every elected official to know that this will save lives.

Being a legislator responsible for so many issues is an extremely difficult job. But, during this session, the Senate prioritized the need to help Ohio’s citizens suffering from mental illness. For that, we are extremely grateful.

As this process moves forward, we feel confident that Governor DeWine, the Ohio House of Representatives, and the Ohio Senate will continue to be our heroes.

We want to thank the thousands of NAMI supporters who advocated during this budget process through making phone calls, sending emails, attending meetings, and more.  These actions helped to raise the volume of NAMI’s voice at the Ohio Statehouse.

Thank you,

Terry Russell

Executive Director, NAMI Ohio