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Ind. group seeks execution moratorium

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A 24-year-old University of Notre Dame graduate is leading an effort to impose a death penalty moratorium in Indiana, supporters say.

Will McAuliffe has recruited former state officials, activists, professors and lawyers into a new group called the Indiana Coalition Acting to Suspend Executions, or InCASE, The Indianapolis Star reported Tuesday.

“We need to create a market for this issue in Indiana,” McAuliffe said, announcing the group’s board members and advisers includes former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan, a Democrat, who issued a similar call in 2007 but received little support, the newspaper said.

Even though polls show Indiana residents widely support the death penalty, InCASE says more safeguards are needed to prevent executing innocent people. Indiana has executed 19 people since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977 and currently has 13 more on death row.

“To me, it’s kind of an issue of democracy,” McAuliffe told the Star. “This is one of the most explicit uses of power by the state. … The more power that’s associated with this, the more scrutiny it should be subjected to.”

Prosecutors say Indiana’s rules already protect defendants by providing them lawyers partly paid for by counties and the state.

© 2009 UPI. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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