The General Assembly is considering legislation that would bar the state from setting an execution date for people convicted of the death penalty until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on any appeals on the merits of their cases.
A law that took effect in 1995 allowed execution dates to be set before an inmate’s appeals were exhausted. The idea behind the legislation was to shorten an appeals process that frustrated prosecutors and the families of murder victims.
The state Attorney General’s office says it opposes the legislation.
“The idea behind the legislation”? It does exactly what’s it’s supposed to do!
Yeah, sure, people like John Allen Muhammad and Paul Warner Powell deserve more time. Anyone remember the Briley Brothers back in the 1980s? Maybe they should have been allowed to sit on death row for a couple more years so they could try to escape again?
I guess we should let them sit on death row for 26 years like Stanley Tookie Williams.
Interestingly enough, Creigh Deeds who is running for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2009 voted against this bill in committee. Of course, that might have something to do with the demographics of his district (25th Senate of Virginia District): While he does represent the very liberal city of Charlottesville, he also represents rural areas that aren’t so liberal such as Bath and Buckingham counties (judging from the 2004 Presidential election results and the 2006 gay marriage constitutional amendment).
Either way, it could be a point of contention between Deeds and Brian Moran (46th House of Delegates District) who is also running for the Democratic nomination for Governor. I can imagine the attack ads and talking points in my head right now…
Anyway, complete breakdown of the committee vote:
YEAS–Marsh, Saslaw, Howell, Lucas, Edwards, Puller–6.
NAYS–Stolle, Quayle, Reynolds, Obenshain, Deeds–5.