Senate approves death penalty appeals changes

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) – Kansas senators have approved a measure shortening the time for inmates to appeal death sentences to the state Supreme Court, despite concerns from opponents about the state rushing to judgment.

Thursday’s 27-13 vote sent the bill to the House.

The measure creates a 3½-year time limit for the appeals to be heard and decided by the court. The measure would not affect any subsequent appeals, including those made to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It also sets limits on the length of documents that can be filed in death penalty to appeals to the state court, and requires the appeals to be placed ahead of all other cases pending before the justices.

Opponents argued the changes weaken the death penalty’s integrity and increase the chances an innocent person will be executed.

 

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