Repeal of Virginia’s Death Penalty Headed to Governor’s Desk – NBC4 Washington – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-02-22 12:53:50 –

State legislatures finalized a bill ending the death penalty in Virginia on Monday. This is a dramatic shift for a state that has executed more people than any other state in history.

The bill to abolish the death penalty is now heading for Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, who has signed the bill and announced that Virginia will be the 23rd state to suspend executions.

The state legislature approved the death penalty abolition bill with 22-16 votes. If the State Capitol follows on Monday afternoon, Virginia is ready to become the first southern state to abolish the death penalty.

A majority of Virginia’s new Democrats pushed for abolition, claiming that the death penalty was disproportionately applied to people of color, mental illness, and the poor. Republicans expressed concern about the justice of the victims and their families, stating that there were some violent crimes that deserved the perpetrators to be executed.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate approved separate abolition bills earlier this month. On Monday, the Senate approved the House bill and pushed it to Northham. The House of Representatives was expected to vote for the Senate version later that day.

Historically, Virginia has used the death penalty more than any other state, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, and has executed about 1,400 people since the colonial era. Virginia, which has executed 113 people since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, is second only to Texas.

Only two people remain on death row in Virginia. Anthony Juniper was sentenced to death in 2004 for murdering his ex-girlfriend, two children, and her brother. Thomas Porter was sentenced to death for killing a Norfolk police officer in 2005. The abolition law will turn their sentence into life imprisonment without parole.

Democrats in favor of the abolition earlier this month said the death penalty was an old-fashioned punishment in an era that was too expensive to implement, given that many countries are already out of practice and proceedings are involved. Said there was. They also said it was being unfairly applied and that people of color, mental illness, and the poor were likely to be put on death row.

“The government shouldn’t do business that kills humanity. It’s immoral and inhumane,” said Democrat Marcus Simon.

Republicans expressed concern about the justice of the victims and their families, warning that some murderers in death row could be released on parole.

Dr. Jason Miyares portrays the crimes committed by several men recently executed by the state in heartbreaking details, and the perpetrators are “ultimately punished” because certain crimes are so cruel and corrupt. Insisted that it was worth it.

“If there’s one word to explain what happened to these victims, it’s just cruelty. Unimaginable cruelty on a scale that’s hard to handle,” he said.

Virginia’s pace has slowed significantly in recent years, but executions have progressed over the last decade under the governors of both Republicans and Democrats. State legislatures and authorities have taken action in recent years to maintain Virginia’s execution capacity and limit process transparency.

When Republicans ruled the General Assembly in 2016, they took steps to force prisoners to die in electric chairs if no deadly injections were found.

Then-Gov. Democrats and Catholic Terry McAuliffe, who said they personally opposed the death penalty, opposed the bill but introduced alternatives to keep the identity of pharmacies supplying lethal injections secret for executions. did.

In 2017, prison officials expressed concern about the time it would take a lawyer to insert a venous line into the body of the murderer Ricky Gray, who was convicted of the execution in January, after much of the execution process. Revised the procedure to remove from public.

Last year, the death penalty abolition bill at the General Assembly went nowhere.

Virginia’s Secretary-General for the Death Penalty Alternative, Michael Stone, cites a dramatic shift to a new focus on racial inequality in the criminal justice system. He praises protests associated with the Black Lives Matter movement in response to George Floyd’s death last year.

“The energy and desire for reform behind the movement has fueled our efforts to a large extent,” Stone said.

Repeal of Virginia’s Death Penalty Headed to Governor’s Desk – NBC4 Washington Source link Repeal of Virginia’s Death Penalty Headed to Governor’s Desk – NBC4 Washington

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