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February 3, 2019

Could there soon be a western wave of death penalty repeals?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this group of headlines that I saw in my news feed recently:

From Colorado, "Friednash: I helped expand the Colorado death penalty; now I support its repeal"

From Nevada, "Nevada's Future: 'Broken' death penalty could be banned in 2019 legislative session"

From Wyoming, "Wyoming is the closest it's ever been to repealing the death penalty"

Because the Wyoming House of Representatives actually voted for repeal last week, that state seems to present the greatest prospect for capital abolition. Given that Wyoming have not executed anyone for more than a quarter-century and has nobody currently on its death row, repeal by the state would be more symbolic than consequential in the state. But symbolism matters a lot to a lot of folks in this setting, so a repeal in the Equality State would not be without meaning or import.

February 3, 2019 at 06:19 PM | Permalink


Repeals in the "cowboy, hang 'em high west" US would be very meaningful. We should never discount the symbolic. It is the basis upon which our society thinks. I'm a long time abolitionist and non-attorney.

Posted by: Jack Payden-Travers | Feb 4, 2019 11:43:23 AM

On a practical note, repealing, even in places like Wyoming, would be mean that there would be no more capital charges, greatly reducing the need for sentencing related investigation on the one hand and the use of the DP as a cudgel in plea negotiations on the other.

Posted by: John | Feb 4, 2019 11:55:45 AM

Excellent point, John, though I wonder how many capital charges are brought in Wyoming these days. Any idea?

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 4, 2019 4:48:32 PM

I haven't the slightest, although they did recently drop capital charges in at least one case.

Posted by: John | Feb 6, 2019 12:10:45 PM

According to DPIC Wyoming has had one execution since 1976 and has one person on death row. https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/state_by_state

Posted by: fuzzyone | Feb 13, 2019 3:42:51 PM

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