Proposed Bill Would Speed up the Death Penalty Process
Alabama Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth is making a push to reduce the time it takes for a death row inmate to be put to death. The proposed bill would make three main provisions to the current system to make it happen.
“This Bill has been designed to proved both equal justice to inmates, and swift justice to their victims,” says Ainsworth.
First, the current two tier appeals process to Alabama Criminal Court, and then to the Alabama Supreme Court would be combined into one streamlined appeals process.
“The legislation still affords a thorough appeals process and all the protections guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution.”
Next, appeals would be prioritized and expedited in court. Finally, the time courts have to hand down a ruling in capital murder cases would be shortened.
Ainsworth says the bill was originally drafted for capital murder cases that involved police officers, but after looking at the facts, he says all lives are precious and justice for all families is important.
Senator Cam Ward is a co-sponsor of the bill. “we have had an increase in murder in Alabama by 25% over the last three years. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Justice, we’ve got to do something to push back on this,” says Ward.
Opponents of the legislation say that expediting the appeals process would increase the chances that innocent people are executed.
“Courts find errors, and it takes a while, it takes the whole process often for those mistakes to come out,” Says Carla Crowder, of the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice.
The bill may be voted on in committee as soon as next week.
A majority of committee members would have to approve the bill before it can move on to the next step in the process.