The Washington Examiner recently covered Alabama’s bizarre system in which a judge may override a jury’s decision to sentence someone to life rather than death, but that may soon change.
According the the Washington Examiner’s Anna Giaritelli,
Alabama is the only state in the country that allows its judges to override juries to give criminals the death penalty instead of a life sentence. That 1976 policy might soon go by the wayside under legislation moving through the statehouse to rescind a judge’s ability to overrule a jury recommendation.
Republican state Sen. Dick Brewbaker said he supports the death penalty, but sponsored his bill to reform a policy that he says is used much more often when judges are up for re-election.
CCATDP’s Heather Beaudoin was also interviewed for this story:
“There are so many conservatives who don’t support the death penalty anymore,” said Heather Beaudoin, national coordinator for Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty.
Aside from shifting public opinion, Beaudoin pointed to the financial cost of the death penalty. While keeping prisoners locked up for life incurs considerable costs, she said the automatic appeals programs for death row inmates is expensive and can be “incredibly harmful to victims’ families” who have to relive the ordeal.