Colorado

Colorado, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. What do these four states have in common? All four are death penalty states, but in each state there is a governor moratorium on executions.

Colorado

As early as 1897 Colorado first abolished the death penalty. In 2009 a bill to abolish the death penalty failed by one vote.

According to the Death Penalty Information Centre, the 2009 bill including earmarking death penalty prosecution funding to instead go towards cold case murder investigation. The money could have been used toward solving over 1000 cases, and staffing an office to do so.

From 1859 to 1976 the state executed 101 prisoners. The last execution in Colorado was in 1997.

There are currently 3 prisoners on Colorado’s death row.

On May 22, 2013 Governor John Hickenlooper signed an Executive Order to give a temporary reprieve to one of the men on death row.

The Governor has said of death sentencing, “As Governor, I must either direct state employees to execute a human being, or I must exercise my constitutional authority to stop an execution. Both paths require an affirmative decision by me, and the prospect of either decision has been daunting. It has forced me to think of the issue in a personal way because it is on my conscience the decision will weigh. I am confident that most Coloradans – no matter what their views on the death penalty may be – will respect and understand the unique burden of this decision.”

In a press release Hickenlooper further clarified his position, and outlined the many considerations that led to his decision. “If the State of Colorado is going to undertake the responsibility of executing a human being, the system must operate flawlessly. Colorado’s system for capital punishment is not flawless. The inmates currently on death row have committed heinous crimes, but so have many others who are serving mandatory life sentences. … As one former Colorado judge said to us, ‘[The death penalty] is simply the result of happenstance, the district attorney’s choice, the jurisdiction in which the case is filed, perhaps the race or economic circumstance of the defendant.’”

It certainly must be a difficult decision to be the final word on whether or not a person lives or dies. While the governor’s stance is appreciated, Colorado still has a death row, and prisoners whose fates will be left up to a future governor.

Denver DA Beth McCann is a vocal opponent of the death penalty. She has promised to not to use the death penalty, and is a supporter of abolishing the practice. She has said, “I don’t think that the state should be in the business of killing people,” and that she would support repeal of the punishment.

Lucía Guzmán, the Minority Leader in the Colorado Senate, introduced a bill this February in a failed attempt to abolish the practice.

Get involved and show your support. Add your voice to the debate, and help end the death penalty in Colorado.

Resources for Colorado

ACLU Colorado

Coloradans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Foundation

http://www.coadp.net/

 

 

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Oklahoma

In the modern era Oklahoma has executed almost as many prisoners as it has in its entire state history.

From 1608 to 1976 there were 132 executions. From its first execution after reenactment in 1990 to 2015 Oklahoma executed  112 prisoners.

After Texas and Virginia, Oklahoma ranks third for the most US executions.

There were 52 executions under Governor Frank Keating, 40 executions under Governor Brad Henry, and so far 17 executions under Governor Mary Fallin.

Gov. Fallin has even refused clemency when it was recommended by the Pardon and Parole Board.

The death penalty wasn’t always so popular with Oklahoma governors.

In his administration Gov. Lee Cruce commuted 22 death sentences from 1911 to 1915.

Cruce said of the death penalty, it is, “not in keeping with the demands of modern, enlightened civilization,” and that by abolishing it, “a great service could be rendered to humanity.”

Right now 48 prisoners are condemned to death, and 10 innocent people have been released from death row after acquittals and dismissed charges.

In 1977 Oklahoma pioneered the use of lethal injection, becoming the first in the world to adopt the method of execution.

Now it wants to use another controversial, untested, untried, experimental method of asphyxiation by nitrogen gas. The state calls it IGH, inert gas inhalation.

The American Veterinary Medical Association  doesn’t use this procedure to euthanize animals. Mother Jones reports, “a 70 pound pig that inhaled nitrogen gas would take seven minutes to die.”

One high profile prisoner who would be among the next to die when Oklahoma gets the approval to use nitrogen gas would be Richard Glossip. His execution was called off at the last minute when it was discovered prison staff were about to execute him in error with the wrong combination of lethal injection drugs.

Glossip is believed by many to be innocent. He was sentenced to die for the murder for hire of his boss, and was convicted on the word of the actual killer who received a life sentence for his testimony against Glossip.

Let your voice be heard! Let the state of Oklahoma know that you don’t want the death penalty in the US, and you don’t want them to execute prisoners in your name with an untried experimental method.

Volunteer with a local death penalty group like the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio

From 1608 to 1976 Ohio executed 438 prisoners. From 1999 to its last execution last year the Rust Belt state executed 55 prisoners. Nine innocent people have been released from the state’s death row.

Ohio put a brief pause on executions after the painfully prolonged execution of  Dennis McGuire in 2014.

145 prisoners are currently condemned to death.

From this July into 2023 Ohio has over two dozen executions scheduled, including Romell Broom, who the state failed to kill in a horrifically botched execution. The state also wanted to have another try at executing Alva Campbell who also survived a botched execution, but he died of natural causes before the state got the chance.

The Fair Punishment Project reports that of those men scheduled to die many suffer from intellectual impairment, mental illness, and were victims of childhood violence and sexual abuse.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor appointed lawyers, judges, and other experts to the Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty. The panel’s final report included dozens of recommendations to reform the troubled and broken system.

(Ohioans to Stop Executions has a comprehensive breakdown of the report’s recommendations.)

Today very little has been done to follow through on the task force’s recommendations, while Ohio continues to pursue executions at a reckless pace.

Help us end this inhumane practice.

Let Governor John Kasich know that  you do not support the death penalty in Ohio!

Phone

614-466-3555 

Email

www.johnkasich.com/contact/

Facebook

www.facebook.com/JohnKasich/

Tweet

@JohnKasich

Write

Governor's Office

77 S High St, Columbus, OH 43215, USA







 

North Carolina

Civil rights lawyer James Ferguson believes that, “When you really look at the evidence, it’s clear that race is influencing how we use the death penalty in North Carolina. This is a chance for the state’s highest court to declare, definitively, that racial bias in the death penalty is an urgent civil rights issue that cannot be swept under the rug.”

Mr. Ferguson was arguing for re-sentencing in a death penalty case because of  systematic issues like racial bias in testimony and jury selection.

There is an obvious racial disparity on the the state’s death row, where over 50% of the prisoners are black, where the black population in the state is 22%.

In 2009 the Racial Justice Act was passed, but it was repealed in 2013.

From 1984 to 2006 North Carolina executed 43 people. Between 1608 to 1976 there were 784 executions.

There are currently 143 prisoners condemned to die on death row.

In 2017 there were no new death sentences.

It has been over a decade since the last execution. Let Governor Roy Cooper know that you don’t support executions resuming, and you would like to see the practice abolished!

Write

North Carolina Office of the Governor

20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301

Phone
(919) 814-2000

Email

https://governor.nc.gov/contact-governor-cooper

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/NCgovernor/

Tweet

@NC_Governor

New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a very unusual death penalty state. It has one prisoner on death row, and no death chamber.

In 2008 Michael Addison was sentenced to death for the murder of police officer Michael Briggs. It was the first death sentence handed down in New Hampshire since 1959.

From 1739 to 1939 the state executed 24 people.

In 2000, Governor Jeanne Shaheen vetoed a bill to abolish the death penalty that was passed by the House and Senate.

The first attempt to abolish the death penalty in New Hampshire came from Governor William Badger in 1834, he called for a repeal on the punishment. In his address to the legislature he commented, “As expressed in the Constitution, ‘the true design of all punishment is to reform and not to exterminate mankind.'”

A new senate bill is seeking to again abolish the death penalty in New Hampshire.

In support of the bill Rep. Renny Cushing, himself a family member of murder victims has said, “Filling another coffin doesn’t bring anybody back. It just kind of increases the cycles of pain and violence.”

Governor Chris Sununu has promised to veto any death penalty repeal bill.

Let the governor know that now is the time to abolish the death penalty in New Hampshire!

Write

Office of the Governor
State House
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301

Phone

(603) 271-2121

Email

https://business.nh.gov/nhgovernor/comments.asp

Tweet

@GovChrisSununu

Facebook

www.facebook.com/GovernorChrisSununu/

 

Advocacy

We recently moved to Word Press from tumblr.

Every week we will feature a different death penalty state, and highlight any urgent actions.

We are currently working our way from New Hampshire to Wyoming.

Then we will start all over again. We hope that we will see some positive changes, and that current death penalty states will have abolished the inhumane practice!

Please see our past advocacy posts on Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Montana on tumblr at https://www.tumblr.com/blog/cobdrspadvocacy

 

 

Nevada

The state of Nevada has a macabre history of crafting creative methods of execution. With hanging no longer socially acceptable the state wanted to adopt the firing squad. In 1913 when enough volunteers couldn’t be rounded up for a squad, a crude automatic shooting machine was fashioned.  In 1924, the state pumped cyanide gas into a sleeping prisoner’s cell. After the gas chamber fell out of favor, the state adopted lethal injection.

Nevada is facing an unusual situation. They have a “volunteer.” A prisoner who wishes to drop his appeals and be executed as soon as possible, and Nevada currently has no way to carry out an execution.

Along with many other states, they are having difficulty securing deadly lethal injection drugs, and have created controversy with their solution. They want to experiment with the untried method of putting a prisoner to death using the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Emory University Professor Joel Zivot, who teaches on anesthesiology and surgery, told the Washington Post, “There’s no medical or scientific basis for any of it. It’s just a series of attempts: obtain certain drugs, try them out on prisoners, and see if and how they die.”

Deborah Denno, a Fordham law professor who has studied the death penalty for twenty-five years has said of its use, “The reason we keep looking for something else is because it’s not really for the prisoner. It’s for the people who have to watch it happen. We don’t want to feel squeamish or uncomfortable. We don’t want executions to look like what they really are: killing someone.”

From 1863 to 1961 Nevada killed 59 prisoners. From 1979 to the last execution in 2006, Nevada executed 12 prisoners.

A staggering 82 prisoners condemned to die are currently awaiting execution by the state.

Governor Brian Sandoval, a Catholic, has expressed his difficulties with the punishment, but is nevertheless a death penalty supporter. The Nevada Independent noted he has opposed abolition efforts, and his 2015 budget included funds for a new death chamber.

Let Governor Sandoval know your thoughts on the death penalty!

Emailhttp://gov.nv.gov/Contact/Email-the-Governor/

Write
Carson City 
State Capitol Building
101 N. Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701

Phone
(775) 684-5670 (Carson City)
(702) 486-2500 (Las Vegas)

Tweet
@GovSandoval

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/BrianSandoval/

H/T to the Washington Post