We don’t typically do a news roundup in the middle of the month, but there’s been a lot of movement regarding death penalty in this country, so we want to keep everyone aware with what’s happening. The latest is that both Montana and Maryland have death penalty abolition bills coming to a vote tomorrow (which we have additional information on below), so this is especially huge now. What else is going on? Find out in the articles below:
Anti-death Penalty Bill Revived: Group to Call for Life in Prison Without Parole Instead – Great Falls Tribune – This is about the bill in Montana, which you would think would have not chance in such a red state. However, this bill has strong bipartisan support and co-sponsors are hoping that will be enough to get this through, as similar bills have failed in 2009 and 2011 in the House Judiciary Committee.
Georgia Will Execute an Intellectually Disabled Man Next Week Unless the Supreme Court Intervenes – ThinkProgress – How can the state do this, when the Supreme Court has ruled that executing a mentally challenged individual is unconstitutional because it counts as cruel and unusual punishment? Georgia gets around the eight amendment by establishing a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for proving mental disability, which is an incredibly difficult standard to meet when it comes to something like mental capability. Federal law also leaves it up to the states to determine how to meet the constitutional restriction, so Georgia can actually still execute the mentally impaired based on its state statutes. Keep in mind that this is happening in the same state that executed Troy Davis almost two years ago. He also could only have only been saved by a Supreme Court intervention.
Ex-Virginia Executioner Becomes Opponent of Death Penalty – Washington Post – This is a very powerful story, since its folks like Jerry Givens (the former executioner) that can change minds on the death penalty. It’s easy to be against it if you’re not part of the system, or if you’ve never had a friend or family member murdered. It’s a lot tougher when you have something at take when the death penalty is legal.
The Death Penalty is Not What it Used to Be – Washington Times – This is a great opinion piece on how the death penalty has evolved in our country. It started as a public spectacle with the gallows, and now lethal injection is the only acceptable form of death penalty, and it might not remain that way for long considering the drug shortages. Changes in science have also made it easier to exonerate, and has added extra layers as to the sort of evidence that counts for “beyond reasonable doubt.”
Why Showing Up for Death Penalty Reveal Matters – Amnesty International Blog – Support for the death penalty is waning, and it’s because of grassroots efforts that it is waning. it’s up to us and others around the country to keep up the pressure, and to show that people do not want to the death penalty in this country. We really want Maryland and Montana to become the 18th and 19th states to abolish the death penalty, and for more states to follow their lead.
Senate OKs Violence Against Women Act – Politico – Okay, this one has nothing to do with the death penalty, but the story broke as I was writing this article and its about a piece of legislation that we’ve been working on for a little while. VAWA has made it through the Senate, and with the provisions we wanted! This is excellent news, and in the coming days we’ll post information on how to urge the House to do the same.