MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama lawmakers will vote next month on whether to prohibit a judge from imposing a death sentence when a jury has recommended life imprisonment.
Alabama is the only state that allows a judge to override a jury’s sentence recommendation in capital murder cases.
The Alabama House of Representatives is scheduled to debate the bill on April 4 when lawmakers return from a two-week spring break. The Senate has already approved the measure.
The bill is third on the proposed debate agenda for the day.
According to the Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative, since 1976 Alabama judges have overridden jury recommendations 112 times. In 101 of those cases, the judges gave a death sentence.
The legislation would only affect future capital cases, not inmates currently on Alabama’s death row.