Legal Experts: Va. Death Penalty System Needs Work

A new report by the Virginia Death Penalty Assessment Team says the Commonwealth

(AP Photo/California Department of Correction)

Sept. 5, 2013

A new report by the Virginia Death Penalty Assessment Team says the Commonwealth's system is not as fair and accurate as it could be.

The panel of legal experts is recommending several changes; these include giving inmates more time to appeal, providing funding for their lawyers to hire experts, and expanding defendant's access to evidence.

They are also suggesting that law enforcement make changes to how they record video confession, as well as show lineups to witnesses.

"Doing a lineup doesn't cost anything," says UVa Professor of Law Brandon Garrett. "On the other hand videotaping a confession doesn't cost anything either. So I think what these recommendations do is make things more accurate."

The panel is also recommending changes to keep the mentally handicapped and ill from being put to death.

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