State lawmakers continue re-evaluating the death penalty

Photo of the New Hampshire State Capitol

We’re less than a quarter into 2018, and the movement to end the death penalty has already made major strides in state capitols around the country.

In Utah, a Republican-sponsored repeal bill passed out of a House committee for the first time ever. Two years ago, Utah came close to ending the death penalty but ran out of time before getting to the House. This year, Utah’s session was extra short, but with strong backing from conservative lawmakers and civic leaders, the state is primed and ready to take repeal the rest of the way in 2019.

Washington’s death penalty also appears to be on its last legs. The Senate voted ‘yes’ on a repeal bill and so did a House committee, leaving just one final hurdle left. But like in Utah, Washington lawmakers ran out of time before they could get the bill to the Governor’s desk. The state, however, was a veritable echo chamber of voices calling for repeal, from families of murder victims, law enforcement, newspaper editorial boards, and, recently, from Kirk Bloodsworth, who had the personal experience of being exonerated from death row. Stay tuned for what is sure to be an exciting campaign next year.

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We carry the stories with us in our fight towards justice | Reimagining Justice This Month

Reimagining Justice This Month highlights stories about effective responses to violence – responses that disrupt cycles of violence, heal trauma, and address structural racism.

In honor of National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims (Sept 25), EJUSA’s staff extend deep-filled gratitude to the hundreds of family members of murder victims we have had the privilege to work with for the last 25+ years. We honor those loved ones you’ve lost and the stories you have shared with us. We carry them with us in our fight towards justice and healing for all. Read some of the stories about our work with families of homicide victims.

“Help The Trace Report on America’s Ignored Population of Gunshot Survivors,”The Trace
As part of its efforts to report on gun violence and its survivors, The Trace has pulled together a survey to try to help determine what services survivors need and which of those services they have trouble accessing. If you are the survivor of gun violence, please take a moment to fill out this survey, or if you know someone who has survived a gunshot wound, please pass this along. Continue Reading →

157 – an update from CCATDP

Late last month, after serving several years on Delaware’s death row, Isaiah McCoy was released and acquitted of the murder for which he was originally convicted. There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime, and the testimonies that were used against him were inconsistent. Despite this, McCoy was sentenced to die, but after receiving a new trial, he was acquitted of murder. Upon hearing the news, McCoy wept and said that he plans on spending the coming days with his daughters. McCoy is the 157th person to be released from death row due to a wrongful conviction.

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Recommended this week

“Recommended this week” features highlights from the past week in news about the death penalty, crime survivors, and trauma-informed responses to crime.

Are Evangelicals Ditching the Death Penalty?The Marshall Project
Another sign of how the U.S. is changing on the death penalty: Evangelical Christians are turning against it. Heather Beaudoin, our Director of Evangelical Outreach quoted in this article that looks at the demographic’s growing concerns over the ultimate punishment.

There’s trauma on both sides of the police-community relationshipThe Washington Post
“African American and Latino children manifesting symptoms of stress and trauma akin to those who have lived in war zones. And many who patrol those communities show the same signs of stress and trauma… [T]hey’re supposed to serve share the same space, necessarily interact and can be deeply, sometimes tragically affected by each other.”

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Unconstitutional – an update from CCATDP

The latest sign that the death penalty is falling out of favor comes from Delaware, where earlier this month, the State Supreme Court struck down Delaware’s capital punishment statute as unconstitutional. The Court found that judges rather than juries wielded far too much power in determining who received a death sentence. The Delaware Attorney General has announced that his office will not appeal the ruling, which makes Delaware the latest in a growing number of states to scrap capital punishment.

Support for the death penalty is also shrinking across the United States. Two recently released polls show how unpopular capital punishment is becoming. According to the surveys, around 72% of Kentuckians and 53% of Oklahomans prefer alternatives to the death penalty.

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Another state ends the death penalty

Delaware Black Leaders for Repeal press conferenceYesterday, Delaware’s death penalty was ruled unconstitutional!

“Delaware’s death penalty is gone,” said EJUSA’s Executive Director Shari Silberstein. “It’s only a matter of time before the whole house of cards that is the death penalty in the United States comes crashing down.”

Delaware joins the growing number of states that have abandoned the death penalty – the 19 that have repealed the death penalty (plus the District of Columbia!), the 4 that have a moratorium in place, and the 8 others that haven’t carried out an execution in more than 10 years.

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State courts wrestle with U.S. Supreme Court death penalty rulings. Now up: Delaware!

Delaware Black Leaders for Repeal press conference

On June 16, 2016, the Delaware Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Rauf v State, a case that will decide the future of Delaware’s death penalty. This case is the latest ripple effect from the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hurst v Florida ruling earlier this year, which struck down Florida’s death penalty and impacts other states, including Delaware.

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Huge strides made in repeal efforts in Delaware

Delaware Black Leaders for Repeal press conference

Lawmakers in Delaware allowed a bill to repeal the death penalty to get a full debate on the House floor for the first time. The bill had been stuck in the House Judiciary Committee for the last several years.

The growing coalition in Delaware is fired up at having broken through the logjam. Though the bill did not pass, the fight is not over. In fact, there is still a chance the bill will have another day on the House floor in 2016.

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YOU can help end the death penalty in Delaware!

Lawmakers across the country are reconsidering the death penalty, and things are really heating up in Delaware. Legislation to repeal the death penalty has already passed the Senate, and tomorrow, debate moves to the full House floor. If passed, it will go to the Governor, who has promised he will sign the bill.

We need YOU to dig through your address books, your social media accounts, and your “mental rolodex” to think of anyone you might know in Delaware. Connect them to our easy action alert, where they can contact their representative TODAY.

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Help end the death penalty in Delaware!

Help end the death penalty in Delaware!The bill to repeal the death penalty will be debated on the House floor this Thursday, January 28. After being stalled in committee for three years, the full House will finally get a chance to weigh in.

Now is the time to contact your Representative and tell him/her to say YES to repeal.

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