American Bar Association task force presents a review of the death penalty
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American Bar Association task force presents a review of the death penalty

Date: March 1, 2012
By: Sherman Fabes
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's death penalty was questioned, Thursday morning, by a task force for the American Bar Association.

The task force conducted a study of Missouri's capital punishment and published recommendations for the General Assembly.

Paul Litton, task force member and University of Missouri law professor, said "Missouri has inadequate measures to guard against wrongful conviction." 

Members of the task force said their report was neutral on whether there should be a moratorium on executions. Not one member, however, said that they supported capital punishment.

Despite the pledge of neutrality in the report, the first page reveals that the study was partially funded by the European Union.

When asked about the European Union's funding support, members of the task force said they had only briefly heard about it in passing.

The European Union has abolished the death penalty in their member states and requires that any new members drop the punishment also.

Also, one of the staffers for the American Bar Association gave out his business card that said he worked for the Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project, even though the task force said the report was not a discussion on eliminating capital punishment.

Some of the task force's recommendations included a review of how the police identify suspects and whether or not mentally ill people should be sentenced to death.

The team could not cite any particular past or present case that the recommendations would have changed.

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