Death Penalty

I am saddened and very disturbed by the violent and heinous harm individuals are capable of inflicting on one another, especially when the victims of such acts are innocent, helpless people. That being said, I also believe, however, that individuals convicted of a crime and subsequently sentenced to death by a jury of their peers should have fair access to competent legal advice and due process under the law.

    As you may know, legislation (S. 447) has been introduced this Congress that would repeal the federal death penalty statute and halt pending federal executions. Individuals sentenced to death by a federal court prior to enactment of this bill would have their sentences amended to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

I    f S. 447 is considered by the House, it will be referred to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, of which I am a member. In 2003, the subcommittee conducted hearings on the credibility, cost and applicability of DNA testing.  While I am hesitant to support a complete ban of the death penalty, I would support a proposal to ensure the accused have fair and appropriate access to legal representation and DNA testing.