Tennessee’s district attorneys want to put an end to a death penalty study committee formed to review how the state carries out the ultimate sentence, reports the Tennessean. They say the committee is stacked with members who oppose the death penalty. James “Wally” Kirby, executive director of the Tennessee District Attorney Generals Conference, has gone before legislators and complained that the committee’s intent is to abolish capital punishment.
Members of the committee say there is no concerted effort to ban the death penalty, but only to study how it is used. It is made up of a judicial cross-section from the state attorney general’s office, local district attorney generals, public defenders, the Tennessee Bar Association, criminal defense lawyers and victims’ rights organizations. Their mandate will end soon unless it is extended, but that prospect does not go down well with the district attorneys. The legislature created the 16-member committee last year and authorized it to report its findings to the General Assembly after a year’s study.