State of Colorado repeals the death penalty

By agency reporter
March 25, 2020

Colorado has become the 22nd US state to abolish capital punishment, after Governor Jared Polis signed death penalty repeal bill SB 20-100 into law and commuted the sentences of the three men currently on the state's death row to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"By outlawing the death penalty, Colorado has taken a critical step toward respecting the dignity of human life", said Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, Executive Director of Catholic Mobilising Network, the national Catholic organisation working to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice. "Colorado joins the growing ranks of repeal states, affirming our nation's desire for more restorative responses to crime and harm and adding to the continued momentum toward death penalty abolition across the US."

Colorado is the third state in as many years to abolish capital punishment, as well as the third to stamp end the practice since the August 2018 revision to the Catholic Catechism which declared the death penalty "inadmissible" in all cases. All told, two-thirds of all states have either formally abolished capital punishment or have not carried out an execution in more than a decade.

Public opposition to capital punishment continues to rise, with more Americans becoming aware of how the practice targets vulnerable populations, is applied in a racially biased and unfair manner, risks executing innocent people and harms victims' families.

The Catholic Bishops of Colorado commended the House's passage of SB 20-100 on 26 February 2020, including in their official statement a quote from Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Rodriguez of Denver, who testified in support of the death penalty repeal bill before both the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.

"The Catholic Church has long taught that every person, whether they are unborn, sick, or sinful, has a God-given dignity that cannot be erased or taken away. Yes, it can be marred, but it cannot be blotted out in the eyes of God", Bishop Rodriguez said in his testimony,

"Catholic Mobilising Network believes that no matter the harm one has caused or suffered, each person ought to be treated with dignity and have the opportunity for redemption and healing", added Vaillancourt Murphy. "Today, Colorado makes that possible."

* Catholic Mobilising Network is a national organisation that mobilises Catholics and all people of goodwill to value life over death, to end the death penalty, to transform the US criminal justice system from punitive to restorative, and to build capacity in U.S. society to engage in restorative practices.

* Independent Catholic News


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