Senate advances bill to trim death penalty appeals

A legislative committee has approved a bill that would shorten appeals in death penalty cases.

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the bill by Sen. Cam Ward on a 4-3 vote. It moves to the full Senate.

The legislation would remove having appeals considered by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals and instead send them straight to the state supreme court.

Ward said he believes condemned inmates still had plenty of avenues to appeal their cases, including the federal courts.

The proposal drew criticism from a defense lawyer who said inmates have been exonerated but those cases took years

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