Thursday, May 7, 2009

Colorado death penalty bill dies in Senate

DENVER -- The Colorado Senate rejected a proposal to abolish the death penalty by a single vote Wednesday, hours after backers revived the measure for a final vote on the last day of the legislative session.
Senators voted 18-17 to defeat the bill, which would have used the savings from eliminating capital punishment prosecutions to fund cold case investigations. Last month, a similar proposal passed the House by one vote.
That looks to be the end of the line for the bill, unfortunately. TalkLeft says, "Today was the last day for the Senate to act. Hopefully, a similar bill will come up again next year."

Capital Defense Weekly is much more optimistic:
In Colorado repeal efforts came within vote of making that state the third to abolish in recent years. Folks on the ground in Colorado appear to have done one heck of a job even if their efforts came up a little short. This vote wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near this close. We are winning.
TalkLeft names four democrats who voted against the bill. The unspoken premise is that this is remarkable because Democrats should more reliably vote "the right way" on criminal justice issues like the death penalty. Although I think he's right that Democrats are more likely to support a bill like this, I still lament that the death penalty is seen as a partisan issue. It's not: it's about fairness, humanity, and, in this case, using resources wisely. Better luck next year.

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