OHIO — A judge in Cleveland decided to allow television news media to broadcast the February execution of a convicted murderer, the Associated Press reported in late November.
Judge Anthony Calabrese Jr. of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court said the public execution of Tyson Dixon, 22, would demonstrate that “swift and certain punishment” awaits criminals.
Calabrese sentenced Dixon to death for the February 24, 1994 murders of a Goodwill Industries executive and an alleged drug dealer.
Dixon’s attorney, Jeffrey Kelleher, sought a life sentence for his client and said that Dixon’s right to a fair trial was impaired by a crime-weary atmosphere.
Calabrese did not agree and called the shootings “the most vicious gangland-style killings” he had ever seen, according to the AP. He also said that Dixon’s televised execution could be morally instructive.
Calabrese set the execution date for February 24, 1995, which is the one-year anniversary of the murders.
“We intend to file an appeal,” said Kelleher. “The order is contrary to Ohio law. The law specifically states no cameras. Media representatives can attend and report on what they see, but cameras are not allowed in the execution chamber.”
Dixon’s execution, in addition to being the first one televised in the United States, would be the first in the state since 1963.
The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter or Instagram.