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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Committee Rejects Bills To Limit, Overturn Death Penalty

Montana House chambers.
William Marcus
Montana House chambers.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A legislative committee has rejected bills that sought to limit or overturn the death penalty in Montana.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 11-8 Wednesday against abolishing capital punishment.

Members also rejected, 15-4, a bill to require indisputable DNA or video proof of a person's guilt in a capital crime before the defendant could be sentenced to death.

Republican Rep. Alan Doane said he opposed the DNA bill because it required evidence to be presented at trial and would rule out the death penalty if a defendant confessed and pleaded guilty.

Democratic Rep. Jasmine Krotkov said that while the DNA bill was imperfect she supported it because the death penalty isn't implemented fairly, is costly and does not deter homicide.

A bill to abolish the death penalty in Wyoming recently passed the House but failed in the Senate.

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