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Commission Proposes New Mass. Death Penalty System

May 13, 2004  | 

Paving the way to reinstate capital punishment in Massachusetts, a panel appointed by Gov. Mitt Romney has proposed a plan designed to better determine if a defendant is guilty of a crime and eligible for the death penalty.

"There is no other existing death penalty system, or one proposed to date, that is even close to this in the number of safeguards and overriding reviews," Joseph L. Hoffman, an Indiana University law professor and co-chairman of the commission, told the Boston Herald.

The 29-page report lists the offenses that could result in the death penalty, including the killing of a law enforcement officer and terrorism. It also highly recommends using science, specifically DNA, to prove the guilt of the accused and calls for the creation of an independent committee to review all scientific evidence in a case.

The commission's recently released report will serve for the basis of a bill to be introduced later this year, say the governor's aides.

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