Colorado Senate Defeats Death Penalty Repeal by 1 Voteby Stephen Littau
Like déjà vu but this time in reverse, the Colorado Senate voted down the bill which would repeal the death penalty and use the savings to fund cold case homicide investigations by a single vote*. Though the Senate stripped out the death penalty provision just 15 minutes before the scheduled vote on Monday, the conference committee decided to put the death penalty back on the table to force each Senator to directly say “yea” or “nay” on the controversial issue. All 14 Republicans (mostly “pro-life” Republicans to be sure) plus 4 Democrats decided once again that its perfectly okay for the State of Colorado to kill.
Of the 4 Democrats who joined the majority, Mary Hodge who is opposed to the death penalty was quoted in The Denver Post as saying “It’s the hardest vote I’ve ever taken.” She went on to explain that she voted against the bill because she didn’t like how it conflated the issues of the death penalty and cold case funding.
Well congratulations Mary, Mary, quite contrary! Thanks to your vote the death penalty will remain. I hope you can sleep well at night knowing that you missed an opportunity to repeal this repugnant punishment because you felt the issues of the death penalty and cold case funding “are not connected.”
I beg to differ.
Colorado has limited resources to dedicate to criminal justice; the death penalty consumes nearly $1 million of those resources annually**. The victims of unsolved homicides have just as much right to bring their killers to justice as those whose killers have been convicted.
Most disappointing of all is the idea that far too many people have far too much faith in their government and their criminal justice system despite its many flaws.
*The House passed the same bill by a single vote in late April.
**Despite only executing one person since 1976 with only 2 individuals currently on death row.