Kan. Senate approves death penalty appeals changes

FILE - In this June 18, 2010, file photo, the firing squad execution chamber at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, is shown. With lethal-injection drugs in short supply and new questions looming about their effectiveness, lawmakers in some death penalty states are considering bringing back relics of a more gruesome past, including firing squads. (AP Photo/Trent Nelson, Pool, File)
FILE - In this June 18, 2010, file photo, the firing squad execution chamber at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, is shown. With lethal-injection drugs in short supply and new questions looming about their effectiveness, lawmakers in some death penalty states are considering bringing back relics of a more gruesome past, including firing squads. (AP Photo/Trent Nelson, Pool, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas senators have approved a measure shortening the time for inmates to appeal death sentences to the state Supreme Court, despite concerns from opponents about the state rushing to judgment.

Thursday’s 27-13 vote sent the bill to the House.

The measure creates a 3½-year time limit for the appeals to be heard and decided by the court. The measure would not affect any subsequent appeals, including those made to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It also sets limits on the length of documents that can be filed in death penalty to appeals to the state court, and requires the appeals to be placed ahead of all other cases pending before the justices.

Opponents argued the changes weaken the death penalty’s integrity and increase the chances an innocent person will be executed.

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