USA: State of Colorado abolishes the death penalty


As the 22nd U.S. state, Colorado abolishes the death penalty for offenses that would have resulted in the death penalty from July 1, 2020. Governor Jared Polis signed the law amendment on March 23, 2020, converting the death sentences imposed on three prisoners to life imprisonment. While human rights organizations like Amnesty International Appreciate the end of the death penalty, there is criticism from the victims.

After the death penalty, partly due to mishaps and the refusal of pharmaceutical companies to sell preparations for lethal injections, remained under discussion and above all in massive criticism, it was also less and less imposed and implemented in the United States. Twenty-one federal states have already abolished the death penalty, and some have been suspended. Most recently, New Hampshire abolished the death penalty in 2019. Colorado now followed on March 23 with a waiver for penalties that would have resulted in the death penalty from July 1 of this year.

Governor Jared Polis justified the change in law by saying that the death penalty in Colorado was never and will never be fair. Human rights organizations like Amnesty International welcome the decision, but generally go further in their grounds for refusing to accept the death penalty by classifying it as an outdated form of punishment that has fundamentally failed. After all, it cannot be reversed in the event of judicial errors, has no deterrent effect, is cruel and violent for both the person to be killed and the person who carried out the killing, and is disproportionately used against People of Color.

Polis converted the death penalty for three prisoners on death row, Robert Ray, Sir Mario Owens and Nathan Dunlap, to life without parole. It can be assumed that if further death sentences are imposed before July 1, 2020, these will also be converted into life sentences.

While polis and organizations working for the abolition of the death penalty celebrated their victory as much as possible, there has also been criticism from victims. Senator Rhonda Fields wrote a tweet that accused Polis of undermining the judiciary. Sir Mario Owens, who was sentenced to death penalty, had shot her son and his partner in order to prevent their statements against his friend, Robert Ray, who was also sentenced to death.

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