Alabama legislators are showing their support for expanding Alabama's death penalty law to cover more crimes and to expedite executions by shortening appeals.
The House and Senate Judiciary Committees today approved bills proposed by Attorney General Luther Strange and the Alabama District Attorneys Association. One bill expands Alabama's death penalty law to cover several additional crimes, including killing someone on a school campus or in a child-care center. Another bill calls for the two rounds of appeals in death penalty cases to run simultaneously rather than consecutively. Proponents say the average case in Alabama takes 16 years from conviction to execution, and that's too long. Opponents say more time is sometimes needed to uncover problems in death penalty prosecutions.