A proposal that says fellow citizens, not a judge, should decide whether somebody should be executed is under study at the Capitol. A member of the State Public Defender’s staff tells the story of a man she defended in a murder trial in which the jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquittal. The judge, who knew the breakdown of the jury vote, sentenced the man to death. Senator Larry Rohrbach of California does not think judges should be able to do that. Rohrbach and his supporters say it’s inappropriate for one person to impose the most severe penalty the state can impose if citizens cannot agree to do so. A Senate committee recommends the full Senate approve the proposal,although one Senator, Harold Caskey of Butler, has vowed to defeat the bill.
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