Bill Would Speed Death Penalty Appeals

Jan 21, 2014

Testimony on a bill that would speed up death penalty appeals in Kansas concluded Tuesday at the state Legislature.

A staff member with the attorney general's office told a Senate committee that long filings and delays often extend the process. But Sarah Johnson, a defense attorney who has worked on death penalty cases, said the cases are very complex and a lot of time is needed to prepare.

Johnson said the bill could harm certain defense cases.

“You’re hampering my client’s ability to receive all of his due process rights, to which the Constitution entitles him,” Johnson said.

The committee is also considering legislation that would abolish the state's death penalty.