Seattle Times Editorial: Capital punishment fails the sober metrics of good public policy. Rarely used, it does not make citizens safer. It is applied inequitably, even randomly. It is much more expensive than alternatives. And it exposes the state to the risk, however small, of making a heinous mistake.
Submitted by OADPEditor on Sat, 03/16/2013 - 8:15pm
The Maryland legislature voted Friday to abolish the death penalty, which would make the state the sixth in as many years to end capital punishment and add to a canon of liberal policies recently embraced by state leaders.
Some state lawmakers, religious leaders and citizens are calling for the repeal of Delaware’s death penalty. A bill, spearheaded by Senator Karen Peterson, would not only abolish the death penalty, but it would also modify existing death row sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole. There are 17 men on Delaware’s death row in Delaware.
North Carolinians would rather have convicted killers pay restitution to their victims’ families if they spend the rest of their lives behind bars. 68 percent of North Carolina residents support replacing the death penalty with life in prison without parole, if offenders are required to work and pay restitution to the families of their victims.
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is urging state lawmakers to send voters a measure to ban capital punishment. But in a meeting with reporters Tuesday, legislative leaders showed little enthusiasm for taking up the hot button issue.
When Gov. John Kitzhaber declared a year ago that he would block any executions as long as he's governor, he also challenged legislators to help turn the moratorium into law. "I am calling on the Legislature to bring potential reforms before the 2013 legislative session and encourage all Oregonians to engage in the long overdue debate that this important issue deserves," he said.
On Nov. 6th California voters rejected Proposition 34 and an opportunity to replace their death penalty with life with no possibility of parole. In spite of the facts that the Golden State holds 22% of the nation’s death row inmates (725) and has had only 13 executions since 1967 (none since 2006) and most death row inmates die of old age, after decades of taxpayer-financed appeals, in a close vote the death penalty stays as a part of their constitution.
Capital punishment is legal in the U.S. state of Oregon. The first execution under the territorial government was in 1851. Capital punishment was made explicitly legal by statute in 1864, and executions have been carried out exclusively at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem since 1904. The death penalty was outlawed between 1914 and 1920, again between 1964 and 1978, and then again between a 1981 Oregon Supreme Court ruling and a 1984 ballot measure. Since 1904, about 60 individuals have been executed in Oregon. Aggravated murder is the only crime subject to the penalty of death under Oregon law.