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April 19, 2014

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Senate OKs measure to initiate study of death penalty costs

By a party-line vote, the Senate has passed a bill calling for an audit of the cost of prosecution, appeals and imprisonment of those sentenced to death.

Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed a similar bill in 2011, but Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said this bill has addressed all the concerns and “the governor will sign it.”

Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, said the bill is similar to the 2011 legislation. In addition, he said the higher costs of imposing the death penalty are due to the number and length of appeals.

Brower said changes should be made so the appeals don’t take longer than a decade.

Some inmates have been on death row for 30 years or more while filing numerous appeals. An estimated 80 people are sentenced to die.

The last execution was Daryl Mack in April 2006.

The bill requires the legislative auditor to look at the costs of pretrial, trial, appeals and keeping the convicts in prison. The results of the audit would be completed by January 2015.

Opponents see this as a step forward in efforts to abolish the death penalty in Nevada.

AB444 returns to the Assembly to seek agreement on amendments.

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