Colorado One Step Closer to Abolishing the Death Penaltyby Stephen Littau
The Colorado House passed the bill which would eliminate the death penalty by 1 vote.
The Denver Post reports on the dramatic moment:
In the hushed state House chamber, all eyes Tuesday stared up at the vote board, which showed lawmakers deadlocked 32-32 on whether to repeal the death penalty in Colorado.
All but Rep. Edward Vigil’s eyes, that is.
The Fort Garland Democrat sat at his desk with a hand held to his forehead, contemplating his suddenly crucial decision.
Heads swiveled in his direction. Whispers filled the silence. Seconds passed.
After nearly a minute, Vigil pushed a green button and, in doing so, pushed House Bill 1274 on to the state Senate in a dramatic 33-32 victory for death-penalty foes at the Capitol.
“Hopefully this will make us a better society in Colorado by not having a death penalty,” Vigil said afterward, “though I have my reservations.”
The bill would eliminate the death penalty as a sentencing option going forward and would use the projected cost savings to fund a cold-case unit in the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Only 1 Republican voted in favor of repealing the death penalty on pro life grounds: Rep. Don Marostica of Loveland.
As evident from the article, Coloradans are very divided on the question of the death penalty, despite the fact that only 1 person has been executed in Colorado since 1976. How the vote will go down in the Senate and whether or not former prosecutor Gov. Bill Ritter (D) will sign the bill into law is anyone’s guess.
It’s my hope that Colorado will ultimately make the right decision and follow New Mexico’s lead.