New bill would make judicial override concerning the death penalty illegal

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri is one of two states that allows judicial override when it comes to capital punishment.

A bill in the house is looking to change that.

When a jury can’t decide whether or not a defendant should be sentenced to death, judges have a judicial override, meaning they can make that ultimate decision.

Representative Shamed Dogan is the sponsor of a bill that would make judicial override concerning the death penalty illegal.

Supporters of the bill brought up the past case of Marvin Rice, where the jury was hung.

Eleven were against sentencing death and one was for it.

The judge decided to sentence Rice to death.

Larry Komp is a federal public defender and represents defendants facing the death penalty.
He says judicial override with a hung jury is unconstitutional and the bill would help Missouri keep up with the rest of the country.

“I believe in fellow Missourians after they’ve gone through that process, if the government cannot sustain its burden at that point, they should not be rewarded with a second bite of the apple,” Komp said.

Since 2013 in Missouri, every death sentence has been determined by a judge, not a jury.

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