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Posted by on July 8, 2011.

Olens: Seeking death penalty against Anthony a mistake

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens told the Rotary Club of Dunwoody on July 8 that he would not have pursued the death penalty against Casey Anthony, a Florida woman who on Tuesday was acquitted of charges of murdering her two-year old daughter.

Olens said prosecutors need to be careful in seeking the death penalty when the cause of death has not been determined, as it was in the Anthony case. Olens said he felt it would’ve been easier to convict Anthony if the death penalty had not been on the table.

“Jurors expect to have a robust set of evidence,” Olens said.

Anthony was convicted of lying to police and sentenced to four years in prison. She could be freed July 17 because of the time she has been in prison awaiting trial.

Olens also spoke about his push to reform Georgia’s open meetings and open records laws, known as Sunshine Laws. He wants to increase the penalities from $100 for violations of the open records laws and $500 for violations open meetings laws. He wants to increase that to $1,000 for a first offense on each law and $2,500 for a second offense, if it occurs within the same year.

Rick Otness, chair of the Dunwoody Zoning Board of Appeals, said the open meetings law needs to be clarified so it’s easier to understand. “We’re just trying to figure out what is the law in laymen’s terms,” he said.