In March of 2010, federal Judge John Adams of the U.S. Northern District told Death Row inmate Danny Lee Hill to quit stalling. Adams wrote, ''It appears from the background of this case that Hill is attempting once more to inject an additional issue into this matter to further delay its resolution.''
Perhaps the honorable Judge Adams should heed his own advice.
Hill was convicted and sentenced to die at age 18 for murdering Raymond Fife, 12, on Sept. 12, 1985, in a field on Warren's southwest side. Hill's latest round of appeals in federal court is bogged down while Adams sorts out appeal litigation over Hill's mentally handicapped claim. Adams finished hearing arguments more than a year ago.
Hill's claim has taken 10 years to move through the courts, including a lengthy battle in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court that involved three mental health experts, two of whom determined Hill, 45, was not mentally handicapped and eligible to be executed. The 11th District Court of Appeals affirmed the decision. The Ohio Supreme Court rejected hearing another appeal.
Adams has allowed additional depositions from the same experts and prison personnel to complete the court record. Adams has even criticized Hill for delaying the case by filing his own motions. But while it's logical for a Death Row inmate to stall his own execution, the judge himself has yet to make a ruling.
The gruesome nature in which Hill murdered the Fife boy has left the community with a festering, open wound. While the scar will always remain, Judge Adams is one of the obstacles preventing the wound from closing.
Justice delayed is justice denied.