House moves to eliminate trials for guilty pleas - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

House moves to eliminate trials for guilty pleas

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama House members have moved forward with a bill to streamline courtroom procedures in cases where the defendant has entered a guilty plea.

Rep. Chris England of Tuscaloosa told fellow members of the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday that the 3-day trial procedure in the Amy Bishop case cost the state nearly $500,000.

A hearing known as a "mini-trial" is held when a defendant will not face the death penalty. In those cases, the hearing serves no legal purpose.

England says eliminating the mini-trial procedure would save the state money and lower the chances of court errors that give defendants the opportunity to file appeals.

The bill passed unanimously and will now move to the House floor for discussion.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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