House Committee Tweaks Death Penalty Rules

A legislative committee has approved a bill that would prevent judges from imposing a death sentence when a jury has recommended life imprisonment.

The House Judiciary Committee passed the bill Wednesday afternoon that would give the final decision to a jury instead of a judge. Currently in Alabama, a jury recommends a sentence of death or life imprisonment in capital murder cases, but the judge hands down the final decision.

The bill by Tuscaloosa Rep. Chris England would prevent a judge from overriding the jury’s wishes. It would also require all 12 jurors to agree to impose the death penalty.

The Senate Judiciary Committee last week narrowly passed a similar bill.

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