Washington State Senate Passes Death Penalty Abolition Bill

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A bipartisan bill to abolish the death penalty in Washington passed the state Senate on February 14 on a 26-22 vote. SB 6052 now moves to the House of Representatives, where the chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee has said it will be given a hearing. “Today, the Washington State Senate took an historic, bipartisan […]

As Support for Death Penalty Falls in Utah, New Study Again Says Life Without Parole Costs Less

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An analysis by the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice of the cost of capital punishment has found that cases in which prosecutors seek the death penalty are more costly than cases in which life without parole was the maximum sentence. The Commission’s Death Penalty Working Group reviewed recent studies of death-penalty costs in […]

American Bar Association Resolution: Ban Death Penalty for Offenders Age 21 or Younger

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On February 5, the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly to adopt a resolution calling for an end to the death penalty for offenders who were 21 or younger at the time of the crime. According to a report accompanying the resolution, “there is a growing medical consensus that key areas of […]

New Mexico Bill to Restore Death Penalty Dies in Committee

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The latest effort by death-penalty proponents to reinstate the death penalty in New Mexico has died in a House committee. House Bill 155, which would have brought back the death penalty for murders of children, police officers, and corrections employees, was tabled by the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee by a 3-2 vote following […]

Father Who Survived Shooting Asks Texas Not to Execute His Son

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Kent Whitaker, who survived a shooting in which his wife, Tricia and younger son, Kevin were murdered, has asked the state of Texas to spare the life of his only remaining son, Thomas “Bart” Whitaker, who was convicted and sentenced to death for their murders. Kent Whitaker told the Austin American-Statesman, “I have seen too […]

Bipartisan Effort to Abolish Death Penalty Gains Momentum in Washington

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With the backing of the state’s governor and attorney general, Democratic and Republican sponsors of a bill to repeal Washington’s capital-punishment statute have expressed optimism that the state may abolish the death penalty in 2018. In 2017, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, was joined by former Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican, in calling […]

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

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On Martin Luther King Day, DPIC looks at the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s views on the death penalty. Dr. King’s philosophy of non-violence had no room for capital punishment. In one of his most famous sermons, “Loving Your Enemies,” Dr. King preached: “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night […]

Experience Shows No “Parade of Horribles” Following Abolition of the Death Penalty

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States that have recently abolished the death penalty have not experienced the “parade of horribles,” including increased murder rates, predicted by death-penalty proponents, according to death-penalty experts who participated in a panel discussion at the 2017 American Bar Association national meeting in New York City. Instead, the panelists said, abolition appears to have created opportunities […]

Murder Victims’ Family Members Speak of Moving Forward, Without the Death Penalty 

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Family members of murder victims share no single, uniform response to the death penalty, but two recent publications illustrate that a growing number of these families are now advocating against capital punishment. In From Death Into Life, a feature article in the January 8, 2018 print edition of the Jesuit magazine America, Lisa Murtha profiles […]

Conservative Voices Continue to Call for End of Death Penalty

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From October 2016 to October 2017, support for capital punishment among those identifying themselves as Republicans fell by ten percetage points. Two op-eds published towards the end of the year illustrate the growing conservative opposition to the death penalty. Writing in The Seattle Times on December 27, Republican State Senator Mark Miloscia (pictured, l.) called […]