innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Monday, November 21, 2005

Avery bill comes to a halt

As part of the Avery Bill, Steven Avery was just about to be given $428,000 in compensation for the 18 years he'd spent in prison after being falsely accused of raping a woman.
But in light of recent charges for killing a 25 year-old Hilbert photographer, some legislators say rather than inspiring support for the wrongfully convicted Avery has now become the "poster child for the death penalty" in Wisconsin's latest push to reinstate executions in the state, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Avery had just been paid $25,000 plus $23,000 for legal fees by the state. But because of his current situation the Avery Bill has been put on the back shelf.
"I bought him pop, beef jerky and pork rinds in my office. I apologized to him on behalf of the state. In a sense he was my hero, I thought he was a humble man," said State Senator David Zien, one of the six legislators who backed the bill.

Wisconsin senators propose death penalty bill

State Sen. Tom Reynolds, R-West Allis, is seeking co-sponsors for new legislation to reinstate the death penalty in Wisconsin , reports the Badger Herald.

An execution has not occurred in Wisconsin since 1851 when it first became a state after a man was convicted of drowning his wife. He was sentenced to death by hanging. Two years later Wisconsin abolished the death penalty.

Reynolds proposes the legislation be passed, but only with a DNA stipulation. He supports the death penalty, but only if there is forensic evidence that connects the suspect with the crime as a way to prevent wrongful convictions.

He sites the case of cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer were the death penalty would have been justified, and say only cases were "egregious crimes" have been committed would warrant execution.

Although the bill would have a DNA stipulation some Wisconsin death penalty opponents say once a wrongfully convicted person is sentenced to death there is no reversal of the mistake and therefore they will not support the bill.