sabato 23 febbraio 2013

Montana - Committee kills death penalty bill

The Montana Standard
Helena — On a mostly party line vote, the House Judiciary Committee on Friday rejected and tabled a bill that would have abolished the death penalty and replaced it with life imprisonment without parole.
House Bill 370, by Rep. Doug Kary, R-Billings, failed on a 11-9 vote. Eleven Republicans opposed the bill, while Rep. Clayton Fiscus, R-Billings, joined the eight Democrats in supporting the bill.
Rep. Margie MacDonald, D-Billings, said the death penalty is no deterrent to murder. North Dakota never has had capital punishment, but has a lower murder rate than Montana does, she said.
Rep. Virginia Court, D-Billings, called the death penalty “an expensive option” that doesn’t work as a deterrent. She said both inmates on death row in Montana have been there for 20 years, with the state already spending more tan state has already spent more than $20 million to defend them.
She cited studies in other states that showed the death penalty, counting appeals, was far more expensive than life imprisonment.
Rep. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, said, “We were told about innocent people being sentenced to death, but Montana is not executing innocent people.”
Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula, said the state has put innocent people behind bars.
“Montana does make mistakes,” she said, noting that three imprisoned people in Montana have been exonerated.
Rep. Carolyn Pease-Lopez, D-Billings, said she was voting to abolish the death penalty.
“This is likely to come down on people of color more than people of the dominant society,” said the Crow tribal member. “The death penalty disproportionately affects American Indians.”
“Do we have state-sanctioned homicide?” Hill asked. “I am extremely surprised that this goes down on a partisan vote again. This is not a partisan issue.”

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