The State Senate Judiciary Committee is considering legislation to exempt the mentally retarded from the death penalty. Among those appearing before a Committee hearing at the Capitol was Cole County Prosecutor Richard Callahan, who supports the legislation because he feels it will clear up a lot of questions. “Once we have legislation in place,” he said, “we’ll have an objective measure to decide what is and isn’t” mental retardation. Death penalty opponents took part in the hearing, telling Senators the mentally retarded do not fully realize that they are committing terrible crimes.
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