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March 27, 2013

Death penalty repeal moves forward in Delaware while faltering in Colorado

The latest sign of the sentencing times is that death penalty repeal bills are getting extended consideration in many states.  And, as these two local article reveal, the fate of these bills are often unpredictable.  Here are the headlines and leads from the latest developments in two states:

From Delaware, "Delaware Senate votes to repeal death penalty":

Senate Bill 19, an act to repeal the death penalty in Delaware, narrowly passed the state Senate Tuesday with a vote of 11-10.  A discussion spanning almost three hours in the Senate Chamber garnered impassioned testimonies from police officers, legislators and families as well as state attorneys of either support or opposition for the death penalty.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Karen E. Peterson, D-Stanton, issued an amendment to the bill which she introduced that afternoon.  The amendment removed the retroactive provision which stated that “any person who has been sentenced to death prior to the effective date of this act shall instead be punished by imprisonment for the remainder of the person’s natural life without benefit of probation or parole or any other reduction.”  Meaning, the 17 men on Delaware’s Death Row would still get the death penalty.

From Colorado, "Death penalty repeal effort blocked by two Democrats":

Two Democrats broke ranks Tuesday and voted against a bill to repeal Colorado’s death penalty, killing the measure and ending a week-long legislative soap opera surrounding it.

A week after the House Judiciary Committee delayed a vote on House Bill 1264 after hearing nine hours of public testimony, the panel took up the measure again Tuesday afternoon.  Even as the hearing began, the sponsors scrambled to determine whether they had the votes to pass the legislation out of the committee; and, upon realizing they did not, they pushed ahead with an up or down vote anyway rather than tabling the measure.

After an hour of discussion, the measure went down on a 4-6 vote with two Democrats, Reps. Lois Court of Denver and Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood joining the panel’s four Republicans and voting no.

March 27, 2013 at 09:44 AM | Permalink

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More word-for-word from the Denver Post:
Dan Schoen, director of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, was so hurt that he refused Court's attempts to speak with him.
Schoen said he was too upset to offer any comment.

--- The depths of misplaced affection ---

Rep. Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village, the chairman of the committee, said his conscience would not permit him
to allow the death penalty to remain an option in the state.
"We know that the people who will receive the death sentences if we do not pass this bill, although we have not met them,
are real — they are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters," Kagan said.

--- We know the people they've massacred are real -- innocents ---

Reps. Lois Court, D-Denver, and Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, joined Republicans in opposition to the measure...Court said..."because of my concern to respect what the people really are thinking...I will very regretfully be a 'no' vote," she said.

Tom Clements remembered as family man,
prison-reform leader

Posted by: Adamakis | Mar 28, 2013 11:09:09 AM

This seems like a good year *not* to push repeal in Colorado.

As for Delaware, here comes another bizarre scenario of a legacy death row in a state that has abolished the punishment prospectively...

Posted by: anon | Mar 28, 2013 1:03:05 PM

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