Masschusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will file a death penalty bill soon that he says relies so heavily on scientific proof that it will guarantee only the guilty are executed, reports the Associated Press. The bill, based in part on the findings of a panel Romney appointed, would limit capital punishment to the “worst of the worst” crimes including terrorism, the murder of police officers, murder involving torture, and the killing of witnesses. The bill, which Romney says is “as close to ideal” as possible, would also use evidence such as DNA testing to protect the innocent.
Romney wants to craft a national model that other states could adopt. In 2003, Illinois emptied its death row after several inmates were found to be innocent. Massachusetts is one of a dozen states without capital punishment. Death penalty foes are not impressed by Romney’s scientific method. “I don’t believe it’s possible to be 100 percent certain no matter what you do. Humans are fallible,” said state Rep. Elizabeth Malia. “There are a lot of other issues that we need to focus on.” Romney concedes that it might take another horrific crime, like the 1997 murder of 10-year-old Jeffrey Curley, to rally support for the bill. Curley was abducted on a street and killed by two men who later received life sentences. Public outrage fueled calls for a death penalty bill that passed easily in the state Senate. it lost a single vote in the House. Since then the margin has grown in the House, which defeated a death penalty bill two years later, 80-73.