Lawmakers Studying Fairness Of Death Penalty

Stanley Tookie Williams Executed

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Lawmakers and others studying the state's death penalty are stressing the need to ensure fairness in the way prosecutors decide to seek the death penalty.

James Wally Kirby, executive director of the Tennessee District Attorney's General Conference, says the discretion for prosecutors lies in the decision not to seek the death penalty in a first-degree murder case.

They can only pursue capital punishment if a case has one of 15 aggravated factors.

Kirby says prosecutors must also consider likelihood of conviction, community standards and concerns of the victims' family.

Senator Doug Jackson of Dickson says some question whether prosecutors apply the death penalty fairly and he is considering whether a law could ensure more even treatment.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)