Death Penalty Roundup

In state death penalty news:

• New Mexico's House Judiciary Committee voted 8-to-5 Friday to recommend passage of a bill that would repeal the state's death penalty. Similar House bills met their deaths in the Senate Judiciary Committee in recent years, perhaps because stories like this one can't resist coupling news of a potential death penalty repeal with the grizzly details of a murder that happened 15 years ago. The reporter found those more newsworthy than the facts that persuaded the Judiciary Committee to favor repeal.

• As TalkLeft noted here, Nebraska is considering a repeal of the death penalty. In the meantime, executions are on hold as legislators decide whether to enact a lethal injection law in light of a state supreme court ruling that death by electrocution is unconstitutional. The compelling policy questions confronting the state legislature were deemed unworthy of consideration by the reporter of this story, who instead led with the angst-ridden concern that a death sentence recently imposed on Roy Ellis might never be carried out.

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• The moratorium on executions imposed by Illinois Gov. George Ryan and continued by Gov. Rod Blagojevich will not soon be disturbed by not-yet-indicted Gov. Pat Quinn.

• New Hampshire is considering bills to abolish capital punishment, to create a study commission, and to make death by firing squad a method of execution.

• Kansas legislators, facing budget deficits, are looking at saving $500,000 for each capital murder prosecution by removing death as a sentencing option.

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