Florida’s death penalty has remained in the national spotlight as of late. In January, the Sunshine State’s capital sentencing scheme was ruled unconstitutional because it gave judges, rather than jurors, too much power in the death penalty sentencing process. As a result, Florida’s legislature passed a bill requiring at least a 10-2 jury vote in order to sentence someone to die, but this statute was quickly deemed unconstitutional by a Miami-Dade judge.
However, the courts didn’t settle the matter until recently when the decision was appealed to the state’s Supreme Court, which agreed that Florida’s sentencing statute was a constitutional violation. Until the legislature addresses this issue, Florida is effectively without a death penalty, which should be a welcome hiatus given the state’s poor record with capital punishment.
Meanwhile, the campaign to retain the end of Nebraska’s death penalty is going full-steam and gaining support from all constituencies. Many murder victims’ families, law enforcement officers, religious groups, death row exonerees, and well-known conservatives have all called on Nebraska to keep the death penalty a thing of the past. Recently, the state’s Republican Liberty Caucus endorsed the Retain campaign. Given that a conservative economist estimated that Nebraska’s death penalty costs an additional $14.6 million annually, it’s understandable why many are reevaluating their views on capital punishment.
National polls are also reflecting the increasing number of people who are turning against the death penalty. Pew Research Center’s latest survey on capital punishment shows voters’ growing opposition to it. The polling group surveyed Americans and discovered that support for the death penalty dropped by seven points in a single year and is at the lowest point since 1972. The tide is definitely turning against capital punishment.
Conservatives Concerned in the field
CCATDP has been actively educating individuals on the death penalty’s failures at conferences and speaking engagements, and just two weeks ago, I attended the State Policy Network’s national conference in Nashville, TN. Most of the attendees were conservative or libertarian think tank professionals. While I was there, I met numerous new supporters who believe the death penalty is both wasteful and unnecessary. I was also able to reconnect with a host of think tank leaders who are already supporting CCATDP’s mission.
Conservatives Concerned in the media
- I returned as a guest to Liberty Talk Radio with Joe Cristiano to chat about the death penalty and why conservatives and libertarians increasingly believe capital punishment conflicts with their principles. You can watch the segment here.
- I was interviewed by KOSU on Oklahoma’s state question on the death penalty and why conservatives should oppose it.
- CCATDP was additionally mentioned in the Kentucky New Era and in the Current-Argus
On Monday, October 31, at 7 pm local, CCATDP’s Charles Koch Communications Fellow, Thomas Johnson, will be presenting the conservative case against capital punishment to Texans for Accountable Government. The event will be at Mister Tramps Sports Pub & Café in Austin, TX. If you’re in the neighborhood, then please attend and tell Thomas hello!
Share your concerns
Pew Research Center’s latest poll is extremely encouraging, and it appears that death penalty support is shrinking with each passing year. At Conservatives Concerned, we hope to reach as many conservatives as possible and share the message that the death penalty is irrevocably broken and inconsistent with our principles. For those of you who would like to join our effort, we encourage you to share Pew’s poll on Facebook by clicking here. Together, we can educate the public about the death penalty’s many shortcomings.
Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (CCATDP), a project of Equal Justice USA, is a network of political and social conservatives who question the alignment of capital punishment with conservative principles and values. For news and updates from CCATDP, join their email list.