Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Death penalty appeals bill fails

By The Herald Staff | 5/2/2014

TOPEKA — A bill aimed at shortening the appeals process for those sentenced to the death penalty in Kansas was shot down Thursday in the House.

Senate Substitute for House Bill 2389 failed to move forward in the 2014 legislative session when the House conference committee reportedly agreed to disagree and declined to adopt the measure, according to the Topeka Capital Journal.

TOPEKA — A bill aimed at shortening the appeals process for those sentenced to the death penalty in Kansas was shot down Thursday in the House.

Senate Substitute for House Bill 2389 failed to move forward in the 2014 legislative session when the House conference committee reportedly agreed to disagree and declined to adopt the measure, according to the Topeka Capital Journal.

The bill was merged with another bill that would have opened affidavit requests for search warrants to the public, according to the report. State Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, said Kansas currently is the only state that “completely and presumptively” closes the information from the public.

State Sen. Caryn Tyson voted against the death penalty portion of the bill in February when it was passed by the Senate with a 23-17 vote. State reps. Blaine Finch, R-Ottawa, and Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville, won’t get the opportunity to vote on the bill.

Tyson said she voted against the measure because she wants to be careful when a human life is at stake.

“I understand their reasoning for wanting to expedite the process to save money,” Tyson said. “But when you’re talking about somebody’s life, you want to make sure they were accurately convicted, so I was treading cautiously on that.”

In light of a recent botched execution of an inmate on death row in Oklahoma, the state will review its practice of executing inmates sentenced to death, according to the Associated Press.

Kansas doesn’t currently have a recipe for the drug cocktail used for lethal injections, Jeremy Barclay, Kansas Department of Corrections communications director, said Wednesday. The state likely would adopt a wait-and-see approach to the issue until one of its execution dates nears.

Kansas reestablished its capital punishment law in 1994, but has yet to execute any inmates.

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