Lawmakers approve bill to shorten death penalty appeals

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama lawmakers have voted to give death row inmates less time to file appeals as they seek to trim the number of years that elapse between sentencing and executions.

Senators Thursday voted 26-3 to go along with House changes to the bill. It now goes to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.

The bill is based on Texas procedures and requires inmates to raise claims, such as ineffective counsel, at the same time as appeals claiming trial errors.

Sen. Cam Ward, the bill's sponsor, says inmates will get the same number of appeals. Making them run concurrently, he said, would shorten the appellate time frame by several years.

Opposed lawmakers said that faster wasn't necessarily better.

Sen. Hank Sanders said there are inmates who "would be dead rather than determined innocent."