Alabama House approves death penalty legislation

The Alabama House of Representatives has approved legislation aimed at shortening death penalty appeals.

Representatives Tuesday voted 74-26 for the bill that would pattern Alabama's process after the one used in Texas.

It requires inmates to raise claims such as ineffective counsel at the same time as appeals claiming trial errors. Currently, inmates appeal trial errors first and then raise other issues.

Sen. Cam Ward, the bill's sponsor, says it should drop the appeals time from about 18 years to nine.

The American Bar Association and others have raised objections to the bill.

Rep. Chris England, a Tuscaloosa Democrat, argued it increases the chances that Alabama will execute an innocent person.

The bill returns to the Alabama Senate where senators will decide whether to go along with House changes.