Colorado repeals death penalty
On Wednesday, State lawmakers in Denver passed a bill that would repeal the death penalty in Colorado, joining 21 other states with bans on capital punishment.
The Colorado State Senate adopted the measure in January, and after an 11-hour debate and delay tactics from Republicans, the bill to abolish the death penalty has passed the Colorado House without a single Republican vote. Democratic Governor Jared Polis has said that he will sign the bill into law.
The death penalty in Colorado was reinstated on a ballot vote, winning 61% popular vote in 1974. Colorado has only executed one person since its reintroduction, and just three people, all convicted murderers, currently wait on death row.
“The death penalty is immoral, it is applied inconsistently, and it is the one punishment in our entire justice system that can’t be undone or corrected,” state Representative Adrienne Benavidez said, a Democratic sponsor of the Colorado bill.
Opponents of the bill argued during the debate that though Colorado rarely carries out executions, prosecutors use the threat of a death penalty to pressure murder defendants into pleading guilty, sparing victims’ families lengthy and painful trials.
Republican Representative Lori Saine read a letter from a prosecutor who said he used the threat of the death penalty to secure a guilty plea from a defendant who murdered his pregnant wife and two daughters in 2018.