An Ohio Supreme Court committee studying the state's capital punishment law has rejected a recommendation to collect past data to detect racial bias in death penalty cases. The committee also postponed votes on a recommendation to collect information in future cases that may be eligible for capital punishment as another way of detecting racial bias. The committee Thursday approved a recommendation to require the training of prosecutors, attorneys and judges involved in death penalty cases to protect against racial bias.
The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld an appeals court ruling overturning the conviction of a Columbus woman for her role in a fatal hit-and-run in a shopping mall parking lot. The justices say the 2009 retrial and conviction in Clark County of 27-year-old Toneisha Gunnell violated her constitutional right against double jeopardy. A County judge had originally declared a mistrial. Gunnell and three other women were convicted in the 2005 death of 49-year-old John Deselem after they robbed a mall clothier.
A coalition of tea party groups says Republican Governor John Kasich's plan to raise the severance tax on oil and gas drillers to fund an income tax cut is "unnecessary and unwise." The idea remains stalled in the GOP-controlled Legislature. The Ohio Liberty Coalition is telling its members to urge lawmakers to oppose the proposal. The group's president says Kasich should trim state spending if he want cut taxes. Public opinion polls indicate voters support Kasich's proposal.
The Labor Department says the number of claims for unemployment insurance benefits in Ohio rose by nearly 6-thousand last week, third most behind New York and Michigan. Nationally, claims rose by 34-thousand to a seasonally adjusted 386-thousand, reversing a decline from the previous week. Economists note the Department struggles to adjust claims figures to reflect temporary summertime layoffs in the auto industry. Many automakers are foregoing the typical factory shutdowns amid stronger sales. Applications must fall consistently below 375-thousand to lower the unemployment rate.
Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp says second-quarter profit rose by 15 percent to 376-million dollars, as a sharp drop in writeoffs of unpaid loans enabled the firm to reduce how much it set aside to cover problem lending. Fifth Third wrote off 181 million in unpaid loans, down 40 percent from last year. It set aside 71 million to cover bad debt, down 37 percent from the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, Cleveland based Keycorp reports second quarter profit fell by 3-million to 231-million dollars as it wrote off fewer unpaid loans, and loans and deposits increased.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission says the Columbus casino should open by October 8th, as long as it meets necessary requirements. Those include the installation of 3-thousand slot machines, 70 table games, and the licensing of employees and the casino itself. Owner Penn National Gaming says 900 of the 2 thousand planned employees have been hired. Meanwhile Cuyahoga County Prosecutors say they have compelling video evidence against seven men indicted for cheating at the Cleveland Casino. Six have pleaded not guilty while the seventh is awaiting arraignment.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wrapped up a campaign swing through Ohio with a high-end fundraising event last night at a country club near Canton. Prices for the reception, photo session and dinner ranged from 25-hundred to 50-thousand dollars. Romney repeated his recent campaign theme that President Obama doesn't understand how the economy works. Romney also brushed aside additional calls for the release of more of his yearly tax returns.
The attorney for a Columbus man imprisoned in Dubai for more than four years on fraud charges says his client is now free on bond and is receiving medical attention. Eric Akers says Zack Shahin's family remains concerned for his well-being. Shahin's family has said Dubai authorities have mistreated him. Akers says Shahin lost 50 pounds in prison and has heart problems. Shahin was CEO of Deyaar Development Company, which began as a subsidiary of the Dubai Islamic Bank. He was accused of defrauding the bank out of 501 million dollars
Attorney General Mike DeWine says the owner of two state-funded day care operations in northwest Ohio has been convicted of fraudulently billing the state for thousands of dollars in care that wasn't provided.
The search for an Ashland man wanted in the killing of his girlfriend has moved to Columbus. Police say a central Ohio resident reported seeing a man suspected of killing his on-and-off girlfriend during a vacation to North Carolina's Outer Banks, but a search turned up nothing.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is doubling the amount of medication it provides to mentally ill inmates as they leave prison in hopes of easing their transition and keeping them from committing new crimes.
The Ohio Department of Commerce says a tentative settlement in a lawsuit over interest earned on unclaimed funds is worth up to 15 million dollars. The department collects money from dormant bank accounts, forgotten rent deposits and other sources and invests the money until the owners are found. A judge previously ruled the interest must be paid to residents who have collected their money. The department says people who have collected funds since August 3rd of 2000 are eligible for interest under the settlement. The deal must be approved by a court.
Norfolk Southern Railorad says it has cleared the site of Wednesday's train derailment and explosion near the state fairgrounds and has restored full rail service in the area. The company says the three tank cars carrying ethanol that exploded have been removed, and the second of two affected main-line tracks reopened early this morning. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash. A spokesperson has said the train was traveling below the recommended speed, and its operators noticed no problems with the track as they approached the site.