The state House deadlocked Monday 50-50 on a bill to abolish the death penalty in Montana, likely killing the measure for the 2015 Legislature.While the vote is welcome, it is unfortunate and worrisome that they got that close. Repeal supporters have swung marginal votes with arguments that the process takes too long and costs too much, when the obvious answer is to make in faster and, in the process, cheaper.* * *Monday's vote fell largely along party lines, with most Republicans against it - but it took three of the House's 41 Democrats voting "no" to reject the bill, which would abolish the death penalty in Montana and substitute it with life in prison without parole. Montana has two murderers on death row.
The way to make review of death penalty cases faster and cheaper while making it more reliable with regard to genuine miscarriages of justice is to limit all repeated reviews, after the first full round of review, to questions with some bearing on actual innocence.