A call for a study of the way the death penalty is administered in Missouri cannot get to a vote in the state senate.
About 50 men are under the death sentence in Missouri, a state that has not executed anyone since October, 2005. But executions could resume, after a series of court decisions, almost any time.
The legislature has rejected efforts to order a moratorium on executions. So now Senator Rita Days of St. Louis is calling for a study of the way Missouri sentences someone to death and carries out the sentence. She wants to examine "if the defendant was mentally retarded or mentally ill, whether the defendant had a prior criminal record…the county, the level of defense that person had," among other issues.
Critics say the proposed study is backed by people opposed to the death penalty who want to study it then repeal it. One Senator says he’s heard the costs of executing an inmate are greater than holding a person for life. Another Senator, who has handled death penalty cases in court says cost is not an issue.
Days has not been able to get a vote on her proposed study.