Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Death Penalty Appeals Bill Would Expand Pool of Cases Review


Death Penalty Appeals Bill Would Expand Pool of Cases Review

The state Supreme Court should look at capital murder cases in which a
killer receives either the death penalty or life in prison when it
examines whether the sentences are consistent, a House committee said

The legislation, approved on a party-line vote of 9-5, would expand the
pool of cases justices would be obligated to look at when performing
what's called a proportionality review. That's when the court compares a
case on appeal with other cases with similar crimes and situations and
determines whether a death penalty was merited for the defendant.

The law now only requires justices to review cases in which the jury
recommended a death sentence. The measure would require justices to
examine capital trials in which jurors recommended life behind bars.

The change would help rein in "an aberrant jury," said Rep. Rick Glazier,
D-Cumberland, a bill co-sponsor.

Republican members of the House judiciary panel said the bill was too
broadly focused or would create additional work to justices already
struggling to hear all the appeals brought to them.

The bill, which now goes to the full House for consideration, is just "one
more way to clog up the system" and prevent the executions of people
lawfully convicted of murder, said Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake.

(source: Associated Press)

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