Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Willing to Give Up the Death Penalty

From today's Denver Daily News article headlined "Death penalty foes rally, Back bill that would abolish death penalty in Colorado":

A coalition of organizations gathered at the Capitol yesterday to support legislation that would abolish the death penalty and reallocate those funds to focus on solving cold cases.

Yesterday’s gathering included a number of organizations representing family members of unsolved murder victims, civil rights, criminal justice and religious groups.

House Bill 1274, sponsored by House Majority Leader Paul Weissmann, D-Louisville, passed out of the House Appropriations Committee last Friday by a vote of 8-4 and is scheduled to be debated in the full House on April 15.

The money saved by the repeal of the death penalty, which proponents of the bill estimate at $4 million per year, would be spent on Colorado’s approximately 1,400 unsolved cold cases, some of which date back to 1970. Those funds would go towards the creation of a “Cold Case Team” at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

“We are in this to trade vengeance for justice,” said Howard Morton, executive director of the non-profit Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons. “We are willing to give up the death penalty to get more specialized investigation of our loved ones. When a murder is not solved in a reasonable amount of time at the local level, then the state must step in. Murder is a crime against the state.”

An earlier post about an MVFHR member testifying at the Colorado hearings is here.

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