“We were hopeful they would take a look at Ohio’s statute because it had the same flaws as Florida’s,” he said.
The Ohio Supreme Court last April ruled Ohio law “requires a jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of at least one aggravating circumstance before the matter proceeds to the penalty phase when the jury can recommend a death sentence.”
“Ohio’s scheme differs from Florida’s because Ohio requires the jury to make this specific and critical finding,” the court concluded.
Mason was sentenced to death by a state court. But the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati in 2008 invalidated the sentence, concluding his counsel provided him with “ineffective assistance.” The court of appeals ordered a new sentencing hearing. That hearing can now go forward.