Bill seeks to eliminate mini trials for capital murder trials - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Bill seeks to eliminate mini trials for capital murder trials

Posted: Updated:
Senator Arthur Orr said it could save taxpayers across the state at least $1-million a year if it passes. Senator Arthur Orr said it could save taxpayers across the state at least $1-million a year if it passes.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Meth found in Decatur motel; 3 arrested

    Meth found in Decatur motel; 3 arrested

    Saturday, August 23 2014 12:12 AM EDT2014-08-23 04:12:29 GMT
    On Aug 20 The Decatur Police Department's Patrol Devision responded to a 911 call at a local motel. The call was received from an undetermined room.After further investigating, the people in the room were identified as William Alfonso Swopes and Amanada Morrow. Officers soon discovered that Swopes had an active felony warrant in Ohio.Officers confirmed Swopes' warrant and gathered information that James Daniel Sapp Jr. was going to arrive with an amount of methamphetamine.More >>
    On Aug 20 The Decatur Police Department's Patrol Devision responded to a 911 call at a local motel. The call was received from an undetermined room.After further investigating, the people in the room were identified as William Alfonso Swopes and Amanada Morrow. Officers soon discovered that Swopes had an active felony warrant in Ohio.Officers confirmed Swopes' warrant and gathered information that James Daniel Sapp Jr. was going to arrive with an amount of methamphetamine.More >>
  • Huntsville school board member named in civil suit by former employer

    Huntsville school board member named in civil suit by former employer

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:51 PM EDT2014-08-23 00:51:13 GMT
    Mike Culbreath is accused of conspiring with James Packard, a competing developer, to convince potential tenants to choose a competing development in the City of Huntsville.More >>
    Mike Culbreath is accused of conspiring with James Packard, a competing developer, to convince potential tenants to choose a competing development in the City of Huntsville.More >>
  • WAFF48 Anchors take ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

    WAFF48 Anchors take ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

    Mark Thornhill and Kim Essex took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.Mark Thornhill and Kim Essex took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
    WAFF48 News Anchors Mark Thornhill and Kim Essex took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.More >>
    WAFF48 News Anchors Mark Thornhill and Kim Essex took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.More >>
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Alabama Lawmakers hope to eliminate mini trials for capital murder trials with guilty pleas. The bill passed unanimously in the House of Representatives, and it should head to the senate judiciary committee on Wednesday.

The bill was sponsored by Representative Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) of District 70.  He said he was inspired to sponsor the bill by the Amy Bishop Anderson mini trial.  He said it ties up the court system, and he wants to eliminate that. 

"I think the bill can certainly save us money in our court system," said Senator Arthur Orr.  "It also brings us in the norm among the other states across the country. Right now, Alabama is outside of the norm in requiring an extra level of hearings in these capital cases and it's quite expensive to the taxpayers."

The bill is aimed to eliminate mini trials for capital murder trials where a guilty plea has already been entered, citing their unnecessary expense to the state.

Orr said the prices of trials varies by year, but it could save taxpayers across the state at least $1-million a year if it passes.

"It saves in not only tax payers' dollars but also in our judicial resources where you are tying up a courtroom, a judge, a jury sometimes for weeks on end - all for a verdict that is pretty much a foregone conclusion when the defendant has plead guilty," he said. 

Amy Bishop Anderson and Jacob Shaffer both had mini trials after pleading guilty to their capital murder charges.

Attorney Mark McDaniel said mini trials are a constitutional safe guard.

"It is an expense, one that can be and should be averted," he said.   

McDaniel thinks the bill is a good one, but it could face some opposition.

"If this act is passed, it will be contested as unconstitutional and capital defendants will say they have been deprived of their rights to due process and equal protection of the law and the 14th amendment," McDaniel said.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

1414 North Memorial Parkway
Huntsville, AL 35801
256-533-4848

WAFF Is a Proud Member
of the Raycom Family of Stations


FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WAFF. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.