Wednesday, December 8

The State of Colorado orders the abolition of the death penalty | International

Camilla where the death penalty was applied in Colorado.
Camilla where the death penalty was applied in Colorado.

Colorado is now the twenty-second state in the Union to abolish the death penalty. The previous one to do so was New Hampshire in May of last year. Although the maximum penalty was in effect, Colorado had only executed one person since capital punishment was reinstated in the United States in 1976. Jared Polis, Democratic Governor since 2019, promulgated the law on Monday that rejects the death penalty. death and commuted to life imprisonment the only three sentences of convicts waiting on death row.

Polis said that the commutation of sentences “of these despicable and guilty individuals is consistent with the abolition of the death penalty in the State of Colorado, and consistent with the recognition that capital punishment cannot be, and never has been, administered equitably in the State of Colorado ”.

The Governor understood that some citizens of the State would not agree with his decision not to execute Robert Ray, Mario Owens and Nathan Dunlap, who will now spend the rest of their lives behind bars with no possibility of being released. Ray was convicted of ordering in 2005 the murder of two witnesses to a crime. Those witnesses were the son of State Senator Rhonda Fields and his fiancee. For Fields, Governor Polis has deprived his family of the justice that the murderer of their loved ones deserved and has eroded “the judicial system.”

“I understand that some people will agree with my decision and others will disagree, I hope that this measure provides clarity and certainty so that they can move forward,” Polis said in a statement. “The decision to commute these sentences was made to reflect what Colorado law is like, and was made after an exhaustive process of outreach with the victims and their families,” he added. District Attorney George Brauchler criticized the abolition. “Very few in Colorado today celebrate saving the lives of these cold-blooded murderers,” he wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other organizations were satisfied with the abolition of the death penalty. “In the midst of all the madness we are experiencing, this is fabulous news. Colorado officially abolished the death penalty, ”Udi Ofer, director of the ACLU division of justice, said on Twitter. These organizations classify this practice as arbitrary, racially biased, and unsolvable.

Capital punishment sentences and the number of executions have been declining in the last 20 years and since 2007 eight states have abandoned it. In Washington, the state courts declared this punishment unconstitutional, claiming that it is imposed “arbitrarily and with racial bias.” And others, such as California or Pennsylvania, although they maintain it, have approved moratoriums on executions. However, Tennessee killed its first inmate last August after nine years without executions, and Texas ended 13 executions in 2018.

1,517 people have been executed in the United States since 1976, despite the fact that the number of “legal homicides,” as anti-capital punishment organizations call them, has dropped significantly over the past two decades. Most convictions of this type are concentrated few states. Texas executed a total of 569 people between 1976 and 2019. The next state is Virginia, with 113 and then Oklahoma with 112. In 2019, Texas executed 9 people and only six other states applied capital punishment but none added more than 3 executions. This year, Texas has already executed 2 people and only Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee have given the maximum sentence to one person for each state.

For the Information Center on the Death Penalty (DPIC), the decline in maximum penalty has to do with the fact that people are now aware that mistakes have occurred and have no turning back. “A change is taking place in society,” says DPIC.

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