OADP Statement on David Bartol Decision Senate Bill 1013

The mission of OADP is and has always been to seek and promote alternatives to the death penalty. OADP believes that when the state executes someone, they do so in our names. Consequently, we feel a duty to stand up, be counted, and call for the end to these killings.

Given this mission, it may have seemed curious when in 2019, OADP lent its support to Senate Bill 1013, which did not end the death penalty. Instead, the bill reclassified the crimes previously constituting aggravated murder, while creating a new and more narrowly tailored list of crimes still subject to the death penalty. However, OADP recognized that there are sometimes slight detours along the journey toward total abolition. For that reason, OADP was proud to support a bill that significantly cut down on the number of crimes subject to the death penalty. Indeed, since the bill became law in 2019, there has been no one sentenced to death under the new law.

Just as importantly, OADP recognized that SB 1013 reflected the "evolving standards of decency." In other words, decency requires that individuals who have been sentenced to death for crimes that no longer are subject to death should not be executed. Even if the new law was designed to apply only to new cases, the Constitution requires more. No one should be executed for a crime that Oregonians, through their elected representatives, have now determined should not be subject to the death penalty. When the Oregon Supreme Court decided just that in last week's David Bartol case, OADP's vision was realized.

Now, Oregon will begin the process of overturning all existing death sentences. Soon, we will vote on a change to our Constitution that abolishes the death penalty entirely. That was always our goal. OADP believes the Bartol decision will get us there sooner, even if the path previously seemed like a brief detour. At a minimum, the Bartol decision means no one will be executed as we travel on that road. We call on all Oregonians to join us as we take those final steps to abolition.

OADP Board



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