Wednesday, 21 February 2007

ABA releases Indiana death penalty assessment report

ABA releases Indiana death penalty assessment report: The American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project yesterday released results of an exhaustive assessment of Indiana's death-penalty system. The Indiana report is the fifth released by the project in its state-by-state evaluation of fairness and accuracy in state death-penalty systems. (An evaluation of the Ohio system is still in the works.) As stated in this press release, problems identified covered a broad range...
Excerpt from press release:
...In assessing the state system, the team measured Indiana law, procedure and practices against protocols developed by the ABA to evaluate death penalty jurisprudence. It found Indiana is in compliance with 10 protocols, in partial compliance with 36, not in compliance with 21, and one was inapplicable. For 24 of the protocols, the team was unable to obtain enough information to assess compliance.

Broad areas identified as being in need of reform are:

    • Inadequate qualification standards for defense counsel.
    • Lack of an independent statewide authority to appoint capital defense counsel.
    • Lack of meaningful proportionality review of death sentences.
    • Significant capital juror confusion.
    • Racial disparities in Indiana’s capital sentencing.
    • Death sentences imposed on people with severe mental disabilities.
Full report is here (398-page pdf). Executive Summary here (39-page pdf). Links to additional materials released with the report are the project website here.

Rick Callahan has this AP coverage, entitled "Indiana asked to halt executions."

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