OH Court Hears Death Penalty Challenge

OH Court Hears Death Penalty Challenge

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Ohio Supreme Court is weighing arguments from an ex-death row inmate that the state's capital punishment law is unconstitutional because judges and not juries hand down death sentences.

Convicted killer Maurice Mason says the U.S. Constitution requires juries to impose death sentences. Mason argues a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring Florida's death penalty law unconstitutional should apply in Ohio.

If Ohio juries recommend capital punishment, judges impose the sentence. Ohio judges can reject death sentences, but can't impose them if juries don't recommend them.

Justices have scheduled a hearing for Tuesday morning.

The 54-year-old Mason was sentenced to die for raping and killing a woman in Marion County in 1993. A federal appeals court overturned his death sentence and he's challenging a new sentencing hearing.

(KA)