COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced he’s granting seven commutations to prisoners and denying 84.
Those commuted include:
- Henry Thompson, 73 – Two 2nd degree felony Drug Trafficking
- Roger Cole, 68 – 2nd degree felony Theft charge
- Deborah Frohnapple, 63 – 5th degree felony forgery, 3rd degree felony theft, 3rd degree felony money laundering
- Fred James Jr., 64 – Two 1st degree felony Drug Trafficking, 5th degree felony Poss. Of Criminal Tools
- Thomas Noe, 65 – 1st degree felony Engage in Corrupt Acts, 1st degree felony Theft, 3rd degree felony Theft, 3rd degree felony Money Laundering, 5th degree felony Forgery
- Freda Carnes, 65 – 3rd degree and 4th degree felony Drug Trafficking
- Alexis Martin, 22 — aggravated murder and felonious assault. Click here to read more
As of Thursday, 489 Ohio inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and four have died with all four coming at the Pickaway Correctional Institution.
“We get hundreds of requests coming directly out of prisons and many of them are from people who are in for some very, very serious offenses,” DeWine said.
Two weeks ago, DeWine laid out a plan to release some state prison inmates early to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the state’s correctional facilities.
“Whenever we have a gathering of people during this coronavirus crisis, we worry about it,” DeWine said. “And so prisons are, by their nature, are a gathering of a number of people.”
On April 7, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction identified 167 inmates who meet the criteria for the early release. Those who have 90 days or less to serve are eligible, but there are many restrictions in place for who can get released early.
Inmates who have committed the following crimes are not eligible for early release:
- Sex offenders
- Homicide-related offenses
- Ethnic intimidation
- Making terroristic threats
- Domestic violence
In addition, inmates who fall under the following criteria will not be eligible:
- Denied judicial release in the past
- Had prior incarcerations in Ohio
- Are not interstate offenders
- Have warrants or detainers
- Those who have serious prison rule violations.
As governor, DeWine does not have the power to immediately release prisoners. However, a state law does allow the director of the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections alert a state committee, the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee, to an overcrowding emergency and recommend certain inmates be released, which is how the state is going to requests the emergency releases.
DeWine does have the ability to commute sentences; however, those require a 60-day notice to judges, prosecutors, and victims.
To that end, DeWine is requesting the cases involving the selected inmates waive that notice and allow the cases proceed directly to the parole board.
Vicitms will still be given notice and will be able to make a statement to the parole board.