The Ohio Parole Board recommended Governor Kasich grant Shawn Hawkins clemency this week in a ruling of 7-0. Their issue, they say, isn’t necessarily with his guilt (he was convicted of shooting and killing two men) but with other aspects at trial.
Hawkins was sentenced to die for the killings of two teenagers in 1989. He is now 43 years old and would be one of only a few to be granted clemency in recent years.
According to the Associated Press, the ruling said “The Board is not confident in the death sentence in this case, but is also not convinced that Shawn Hawkins is innocent.” Clemency would commute his death sentence to life without the possibility of parole.
One of the issues, according to the Parole Board, is that Hawkins defense lawyer didn’t present any evidence at sentencing time. Instead the attorney was said to “chastise” and “alienate” the jurors who held Hawkins fate in their hand.
In addition, there are other people who may have been involved in the slaying, people whose involvement was never fully investigated. There was also only one eyewitness to the crime and police didn’t believe this witness’ account of the slaying was accurate, after conflicting statements were made.
The victims’ families are opposed to clemency and believe Hawkins should be executed. Hawkins family, obviously, is hopeful the Governor will take the advice of the board.
Death penalty cases are unlike any other case. The time spent on appeals and exhausting all potential avenues of relief is far greater than for any other type of case—there is a life on the line. Appeals for clemency and similar relief can be based on a number of factors including those addressed here in Hawkins case and others.
Having an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side at trial time and even before is crucial in ensuring no stone is left unturned in your case, that they get it right the first time. Sometimes, those things brought up during the appeals process could and should have been handled long before.
If you are facing criminal charges in Ohio, any kind of criminal charge, you want to rest assured that you’ve put your confidence in a defense attorney who is interested in getting you the best results possible. Contact our attorneys today for a consultation on your case and to see how we might be able to help.