House Committee approves judicial override bill

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Lawmakers moved a step closer to passing legislation that would prohibit judges from imposing a death sentence when a jury has recommended life imprisonment.

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that had already cleared the Alabama Senate.

Alabama is the only state that allows a judge to override a jury's sentence recommendation in capital murder cases

The bill by Republican Sen. Dick Brewbaker of Pike Road would give the jury the final say, instead of the judge.

According to the Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative, since 1976, Alabama judges have overridden jury recommendations 112 times. In 101 of those cases, the judges gave a death sentence.

The legislation would only affect future capital cases, not inmates currently on Alabama's death row.