Print Friendly HOUSE BILL NO. 122 – Death penalty commission
HOUSE BILL NO. 122
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DEATH PENALTY - Adds to existing law to provide for the temporary suspension
of the death penalty; to provide for the creation of the Idaho Death Penalty
Commission; and to provide for membership and duties of the commission.
01/24 House intro - 1st rdg - to printing
01/27 Rpt prt - to Jud
|||| LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ||||
Fifty-seventh Legislature First Regular Session - 2003
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
HOUSE BILL NO. 122
1 AN ACT
2 RELATING TO CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; AMENDING CHAPTER 25, TITLE 19, IDAHO CODE, BY
3 THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION 19-2515B, IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE FOR THE
4 TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF THE DEATH PENALTY AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE IDAHO
5 DEATH PENALTY COMMISSION; AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
6 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
7 SECTION 1. That Chapter 25, Title 19, Idaho Code, be, and the same is
8 hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and des-
9 ignated as Section 19-2515B, Idaho Code, and to read as follows:
10 19-2515B. TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF DEATH PENALTY -- DEATH PENALTY COMMIS-
11 SION. (1) No execution of a defendant shall take place for two (2) years from
12 the effective date of this section.
13 (2) Death penalty commission created.
14 (a) In order to conduct a fair, unbiased and impartial study of all
15 aspects of the death penalty as imposed and administered in Idaho, there
16 is hereby created a commission on the death penalty to consist of nine (9)
17 members; one (1) member from each political party in the house of repre-
18 sentatives, to be appointed by the speaker of the house of representa-
19 tives; one (1) member from each political party in the senate, to be
20 appointed by the president pro tempore of the senate; one (1) member to be
21 appointed by the state appellate public defender or designee thereof; one
22 (1) member to be appointed by the attorney general or a designee thereof;
23 and three (3) members to be appointed by the governor from a list of five
24 (5) nominees submitted by the board of commissioners of the Idaho state
25 bar. Officials charged with the appointment of members to the commission
26 shall appoint such members as to reflect an ideological balance on the
27 issue of the death penalty to ensure that the study of the commission is
28 fair, unbiased and impartial. Members of the commission shall serve with-
29 out honorarium or compensation but shall be reimbursed for actual and nec-
30 essary expenses pursuant to section 59-509(b), Idaho Code. The commission
31 shall be appointed on or before July 1, 2003.
32 (b) The commission on the death penalty shall hold public hearings where
33 witnesses shall have an opportunity to testify regarding issues relevant
34 to the imposition and administration of the death penalty in Idaho. The
35 commission is authorized to create an internet website and other means to
36 communicate with the public and invite citizen input and comment. In mak-
37 ing its findings and recommendations, the commission shall hear testimony
38 from the victims of crime, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, defense
39 lawyers, and members of society with an interest in the administration of
40 criminal justice.
41 (c) The commission on the death penalty shall be given access to all
42 information relating to death penalty cases and first degree murder cases
43 maintained by the Idaho supreme court, inferior state courts, the attorney
1 general, county and state prosecutor offices, county public defenders and
2 the state appellate public defender. The commission is authorized to con-
3 tract with universities for research assistance in collecting and analyz-
4 ing information on all aspects of the death penalty as imposed and admin-
5 istered in Idaho.
6 (d) The commission shall review all aspects of the death penalty as
7 imposed and administered in Idaho. As part of its study, the commission on
8 the death penalty may review and analyze all cases in which charges of
9 first degree murder committed on or after January 1, 1975, were filed.
10 Such review and analysis shall examine all available data concerning:
11 (i) The facts of the offense including mitigating and aggravating
12 circumstances, and information on the impact of the crime;
13 (ii) The county in which the charges were filed;
14 (iii) The charges originally filed;
15 (iv) The crime for which the defendant was convicted or entered a
16 plea of guilty;
17 (v) The sentence imposed;
18 (vi) The age, race, gender, religious preference, and economic sta-
19 tus of the defendant and of the victim;
20 (vii) Evidence that the defendant was mentally retarded;
21 (viii) The cost per disposition and implementation of sentence;
22 (ix) The identity, number and experience level of defense counsel
23 at trial, appeal and post-conviction;
24 (x) The identity, number and experience level of trial and appel-
25 late prosecutors, including employees and staff of the attorney gen-
26 eral; and
27 (xi) The results of any post-conviction review in state or federal
29 (e) In considering the experience level of attorneys and the adequacy of
30 resources as described in subparagraphs (ix) and (x) of paragraph (d) of
31 this subsection, the commission shall consider the experience and training
32 levels required by the Idaho supreme court, the experience and training
33 levels required by the courts and laws of other jurisdictions in which the
34 death penalty is imposed, and the recommendations of national associa-
36 (f) The review conducted by the commission shall include criminal homi-
37 cide charges filed during the period of review.
38 (g) The commission shall report its findings and recommendations regard-
39 ing the death penalty, including remedies for any deficiencies found by
40 the commission, to the governor, the legislature, and the Idaho supreme
41 court by January 1, 2005.
42 (h) The commission shall make recommendations for amendments to the stat-
43 utes and court rules pertaining to cases in which the death penalty is
44 sought or imposed to provide assurances that:
45 (i) Defendants who are sentenced to death are in fact guilty of
46 first degree murder;
47 (ii) Defendants in cases in which the death penalty is sought are
48 provided adequate and experienced counsel and adequate resources for
49 the defense of their cases at trial;
50 (iii) Defendants in cases in which the death penalty is imposed are
51 provided adequate and experienced counsel and adequate resources for
52 the defense of their cases at the appellate and post-conviction
54 (iv) Race does not play an impermissible role in determining which
55 defendants are sentenced to death;
1 (v) Appellate and post-conviction procedures are adequate to pro-
2 vide a fair opportunity for the courts of this state to correct
3 errors and injustices that occurred at trial in cases in which the
4 death penalty is imposed including, but not limited to, allowing
5 access to physical evidence for later testing and analysis;
6 (vi) All prosecutors throughout this state use similar criteria to
7 determine whether to seek the death penalty in a case involving crim-
8 inal homicide;
9 (vii) The imposition and administration of the death penalty in
10 Idaho comports with constitutional principles and requirements of
11 fairness, justice, equality and due process;
12 (viii) The death penalty is appropriate policy when comparing the
13 financial costs to the state of imposing a death sentence and of
14 imposing a sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of
16 (ix) The death penalty is effective in deterring others from com-
17 mitting similar crimes; and
18 (x) That statutory aggravating factors are appropriate and that
19 the jury instructions defining such are understandable to jurors.
20 SECTION 2. An emergency existing therefor, which emergency is hereby
21 declared to exist, this act shall be in full force and effect on and after its
22 passage and approval.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The punishment of death carries an especially heavy burden to be free
from error. The fairness of the death penalty has recently come under
serious scrutiny. Nationwide, over 100 people have been exonerated of
the crimes for which they were sentenced to death, including two in
Idaho. There are many systematic problems that result in innocent
people being convicted. Now is an appropriate time to ask if the death
penalty has fulfilled the promise of justice and fairness made over 20
Whatever one thinks of the death penalty, everyone agrees that our
government sometimes makes mistakes, and that we should take
reasonable, responsible steps to prevent more mistakes from being made.
Justice is a process, one that needs to be constantly improved to make
it as fair and just as possible.
It is necessary to place a moratorium on executions, and appoint a
Commission on the Death Penalty to review whether the application of
the death penalty is consistent with constitutional requirements of
fairness, justice, equality and due process.
Fiscal impact to the General Fund will not exceed $50,000
FY 2003 & FY 2004
4 Regional Public Meetings 10@$300x4 12,000
4 Local Meetings/Boise 9@$200x4 7,000
General Meeting Costs 1,000
Contract Death Penalty Expert 25,000
Printing Costs/Final Report 5,000
Total Costs 50,000
LSO provides secretarial support.
LSO professional staff works with contact expert.
Meeting locations are state office buildings, except for regional
Contract for Death Penalty Expert = $50x500 (or any combination of).
Name: David H. Bieter
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE H 122