Mo Study Says Death Penalty Too Broad
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - A new report concludes Missouri has too many reasons by which people can be eligible for the death penalty and needs to do a better job of preserving forensic evidence such DNA samples.
The report to be released Thursday is the result of a two-year study sponsored by the American Bar Association that included law professors, private-practice attorneys and judges appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the report before its public release.
The report notes that Missouri has 17 "aggravating circumstances" that give prosecutors discretion to pursue the death penalty for "virtually any intentional homicide." It says many other states have fewer grounds for the death penalty.
The report also praises Missouri for several things, including an independent judiciary.