The Palm Beach Post reports, "Negron bill would speed up appeals process for death row inmates," by Melissa E. Holsman.
Condemned inmates could spend fewer years on death row and have less time for appeals under a bill being championed by state Sen. Joe Negron, which aims to speed up the death penalty appellate process.
Dubbed the “Timely Justice Act of 2013," the bill’s goal, according to Negron, R-Stuart, is to allow an inmate the opportunity to appeal a sentence of death in capital cases, but for the legal matters involved to be decided in a quicker manner than under judicial rules currently in place.
The proposed act is co-sponsored by state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, who, like Negron, is an attorney practicing civil law.
Members of the House criminal justice subcommittee, which Gaetz chairs, on Tuesday approved the bill and a companion House Joint Resolution, which would amend the state constitution — if approved by voters in 2014 — to authorize the Legislature to enact the rules and procedures outlined in the act.
Measures in the bill include prohibiting courts from granting extensions of time at various stages of the post-conviction process and creates reporting requirements that hold courts accountable for substantial delays. It also takes away the court’s authority to appoint a state-paid attorney to represent condemned inmates who apply for clemency from the governor’s office on or after July 1, 2013.
But the bill and the proposed resolution to amend Florida’s constitution aren’t without controversy.
Some groups, including the Florida Bar and the Florida Association of Public Defenders have voiced concerns that amending the state constitution to allow the Legislature to set rules for the judiciary in processing death penalty post-conviction appeals will spark a debate over separations of powers.
Earlier coverage from Florida begins at the link.