Alabama ends death penalty by judicial override

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signed a bill ending the state’s one-of-a-kind practice of allowing judges to sentence a person to death when a jury has recommended life imprisonment.

Ivey spokeswoman Eileen Jones confirmed the move Tuesday. Alabama was the last state in the country to allow judges to override a jury when sentencing capital murder cases.

Montgomery Republican Sen. Dick Brewbaker sponsored a version of the bill and says it is in the interest of justice. It passed the House last week after a rare showing of bipartisan support in the Republican-controlled legislature.

The legislation will only apply to future capital cases and not affect the 183 inmates currently on Alabama’s death row.

The Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative says Alabama judges have overridden jury recommendations 112 times since 1976.

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