Missouri prosecutors stay quiet in death penalty review

Thursday, July 12, 2012 | 11:40 a.m. CDT; updated 1:06 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 12, 2012

COLUMBIA — A recent review of Missouri's death penalty system by the American Bar Association relied on responses from law enforcement agencies, medical examiners, crime labs and others involved in handing down the ultimate punishment.

One group was largely absent from the discussion — the prosecutors who decide whether to seek the death penalty in the first place.

ABA surveys sent to prosecutors in Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Kansas City and Springfield went unanswered, while the state Attorney General's Office provided limited information.

Clay County prosecutor Daniel White was the only prosecutor to write back, but declined to participate in order to not "embolden enemies of justice."

The ABA review team included a former Missouri Bar president, a former state appeals court judge and two sitting federal judges.

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