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Tennessee Considers Study Commission May 25, 2007

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Tennessee is currently considering a bill to create special committee to study the state’s death penalty system. House Bill 2162 (pdf) was unanimously approved by the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month, and a Senate version of the bill (SB 1911) is also being considered.

Acknowledging that “new methods and technologies for determining guilt or innocence have shed new light on the causes of wrongful convictions,” the Committee to Study the Administration of the Death Penalty would thoroughly review and make recommendations on all aspects of Tennessee’s death penalty system, including the risk of innocent people being executed. In addition, the committee would be charged with reviewing the state’s indigent defense system to ensure “effective defense counsel in all stages of litigation in capital cases” using the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Capital Cases (pdf) as a benchmark.

The committee created by this bill would consist of 16 members appointed by various government leaders, lawyer associations, and criminal justice organizations, including The Tennessee Justice Project – an independent organization formed by The Justice Project in 2004. The committee would have two years to study the state’s death penalty system and report its findings to the governor and the General Assembly.



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