Fewer Inmates Sit On Death Row - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/16/04

Fewer Inmates Sit On Death Row

For Michele Cazeau's family, the death penalty was the right justice for the man who killed her. 25-year old Jason Taylor is waiting to be moved to death row. His death sentence is the first one in 16 years to be decided by a Harrison County jury.

District Attorney Cono Caranna says, "It takes very specific facts. It takes fitting under specific laws. It takes people seeing that this is the only way to solve the situation, the only proper sentence to do."

The attorney general's office says Taylor is the only inmate sentenced to death in the state this year. Last year, only three prisoners went to death row.

Defense Attorney Jim Davis handles a lot of capital litigation cases. He says, "No juror in their right mind would ever want to know that they gave an innocent person a death penalty and you have now seen that it has happened and it has happened in many states."

The district attorney says laws have changed that make it more difficult for prosecutors to convince a jury to sentence a defendant to death.

"People with an IQ below 70, people who are under or in their teen years. All those kinds of things have been coming over time which cut down on things," says Caranna.

Davis says the advancements in DNA evidence are also another reason jurors hesitate on death.

"The state of Illinois just entered a moratorium on executing anybody because they found all these innocent people on their death row."

Davis says he sees prosecutors being more selective in which cases they push for the death penalty and as a result fewer inmates are going to death row.

byMarcia Hill

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