By Joe Jarosz
January 28, 2015
KANSAS CITY, Missouri — A Kansas City, Mo., Representatives has filed a bill to create a task force evaluating the death penalty and halting executions until at least January 2018.
In the bill by Rep. John Rizzo, D-Kansas City, a task force on the death penalty would be established in the Office of the Administration. The task force must consist of: two members from the House of Representatives and two members from the Senate, with each chamber providing one member from each political party; two members of the Missouri Assessment Team on the Death Penalty; a judge; a county prosecutor; a criminal defense attorney, a state public defender; and the Attorney General or his or her designee. The task force would also need to elect a chairperson.
The legislation also states the task force would be appointed and staffed by Dec. 1, 2015. The group would then analyze at least two documents, the 2012 Missouri Death Penalty Assessment Report and its recommendations for promoting, “greater fairness and accuracy in the application of the death penalty” and study the findings of the Death Penalty Proportionality Project conducted by Saint Louis University School of Law.
Members of the task force would then report its recommendations regarding the death penalty to the Governor, the President Pro Tem of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court by Jan. 1, 2018. The task force would then expire after it issues its report.
During the time the task force meets, and until it gives its recommendations, executions of defendants would be prohibited. Last year, the state of Missouri executed 10 men.