Friday, April 18, 2008


Amended Bill Passes Senate Judiciary

Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee passed an amended version of the death penalty study extension bill, extending the life of the Committee to Study the Administration of the Death Penalty for two months through the end of 2008. The original extension bill would have extended the Committee’s life for a full year until October 2009.

Senator Mark Norris of Memphis proposed the bill's amendment. Ultimately the amended bill passed with “yes” votes from Senators Doug Jackson, Jim Kyle, Beverly Marrero, John Wilder, Diane Black and Mark Norris. Senators Jamie Woodson, Mae Beavers, and Paul Stanley passed on the vote.

The District Attorneys’ Conference has been resisting any extension of this Study Committee as its leadership claimed that the Committee was stacked with abolitionists. Unfounded and unfair accusations have been made by the DA’s Conference's Executive Director, Wally Kirby, in media outlets throughout the state concerning the work and membership of this Committee. In fact, within the Judiciary meeting yesterday, Senator Kyle raised the possibility of disbanding the Committee and reappointing a whole different committee. However, Senator Jackson quickly stated that the current Committee is a fair minded and talented group of people who should be allowed to finish the work that they started. Thankfully, the majority of the Judiciary agreed.

The bill must now pass the full House and Senate, and we are hopeful that it will.

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