"Some States Speed Up Death Penalty," is the Stateline report by Maggie Clark. Here's the beginning:
Earlier coverage from California, Florida, and North Carolina begins at the links.
Supporters and opponents of capital punishment agree: The current death penalty is expensive, inefficient, and arbitrary. Some state legislatures have reacted to those faults by abolishing the death penalty, while others are trying to speed it up.
Since 2007, six states have abolished capital punishment—most recently Maryland, which did so this year. But other states, troubled by some of the same problems, have moved in the opposite direction:
- Republican lawmakers in North Carolina, which hasn’t executed any convicts since 2006, repealed the state’s Racial Justice Act. That law created an additional appeal for death row inmates who believed their death sentences were the result of racial bias. GOP legislators also ended medical licensing board restrictions that kept doctors and nurses from administering execution drugs.
- Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott recently signed a law that will speed up Florida’s execution process. The governor now must sign a death warrant within 30 days of the Supreme Court certifying that an inmate has exhausted all appeals. The execution date must be six months from the date of the warrant.
- California death penalty supporters are working on a citizens’ initiative for the 2014 ballot to restart the death penalty in that state. Last year’s attempt to end the death penalty on the ballot failed.
- And attorneys general in California and North Carolina are vigorously contesting lawsuits in state and federal court that claim their executions by lethal injection are “cruel and unusual,” and thus unconstitutional.