Missouri Rep. Bill Deeken (pictured), a Republican death penalty proponent, has introduced legislation that would halt executions in the state until 2011 and would create a capital punishment commission to examine the fairness and accuracy of Missouri’s death penalty. Deeken stated that his motivation for the bill came after realizing that the state’s death penalty has not been implemented fairly in all cases and it does not adequately prevent wrongful convictions. He noted, “I am not against the death penalty. But what I am for is to make sure that any person that is sentenced to death is the right person. If I was on a jury, and I found out that I had put someone to death that was not guilty, it would bother me for the rest of my life.”

Deeken’s bill would establish a commission consisting of a broad cross-section of death penalty experts throughout the state, legislative leaders, a murder victims’ family member, and a family member of an individual on death row. The commission would look at issues regarding the death penalty and report its recommendations and findings to the governor, legislature, and Missouri Supreme Court by 2011.

(Columbia Missourian, February 1, 2007). See New Voices and Innocence.