Governor Haslam, Paulo Martinez has a question in response to your recent statement on Tennessee’s death penalty:
Do you think the death penalty system in Tennessee needs to be overhauled?
The American Bar Association does. Their 2007 Death Penalty Assessment Report on Tennessee identified 10 key areas for reform:
- Inadequate Procedures to Address Innocence Claims (including a failure to preserve DNA evidence in the post-conviction phase of capital trials)
- Excessive Caseloads of Defense Counsel
- Inadequate Access to Experts and Investigators
- Inadequate Qualification and Performance Standards for Defense Counsel
- Lack of Meaningful Proportionality Review (between cases in which a death sentence or a life sentence is imposed for similar crimes)
- Lack of Transparency in the Clemency Process
- Significant Capital Juror Confusion
- Racial Disparities in Tennessee’s Capital Sentencing
- Geographical Disparities in Tennessee’s Capital Sentencing
- Death Sentences Imposed on People with Severe Mental Disability
The report makes 14 recommendations to address these issues.
How many of these recommendations have been implemented since 2007?
How has your government worked to ensure fairness and transparency in capital cases?
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