Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Oklahoma House approves changes to death penalty

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma House has overwhelmingly approved a bill to make the death penalty an option in first-degree murder cases only if the state is seeking it. Current law tells judges to consider the penalty even if the state doesn't ask for it.

The chamber voted 82-10 Tuesday in support of the proposal from Rep. Scott Biggs of Chickasha. It has already passed the Senate and now waits for Gov. Mary Fallin's signature to become law.

Courts currently have hearings after convictions of first-degree murder to consider life in prison, life without parole or death as punishments. Biggs' bill would specify that if the state isn't seeking death but can still show the suspect has a history of felonies, life and life without parole — not death — will be considered.

Source: AP, March 26, 2013