The Columbus Dispatch – April 01, 2016 09:52 AM
Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton is the inaugural winner of the Terry J. Collins Award from Ohioans to Stop Executions.
Collins, who observed 33 executions as director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, died suddenly from a heart attack on March 17.
After his retirement in 2010, Collins came out as a capital punishment opponent, testifying to the General Assembly and giving speeches around the state. He volunteered with Ohioans to Stop Executions.
The group created the award to honor Collins and decided to name Stratton the first recipient. It recognizes “a leader in government who once supported and/or implemented the death penalty,” but later reversed positions and advocated to halt executions.
The award will be given April 12 at an Ohio Statehouse lobby day event.
Stratton, generally a supporter of capital punishment during her term on the court from 1996 to 2012, subsequently spoke out against the execution of mentally ill offenders.
“I am extremely honored to receive this recognition in the name of a great leader and dear friend,” said Stratton. “Terry was an inspiration to me, and I am glad to be in his company as a person who now opposes the death penalty…In general, the death penalty does not deter murder, and with all the delays, it does not bring closure for the victim’s survivors.”