There is no justice in capital punishment

January 23, 2021

I’ve always opposed capital punishment. It’s wrong for a state or the federal government to take a life.


There is no justification other than sheer vengeance and innocent people are too often wrongfully sentenced to death.


The Justice Project found that 123 people were exonerated and released from death row since the death penalty was reinstated in the 1970s. Capital punishment is also applied unfairly and disproportionally to people of color, low-income people, and those with mental health conditions. Wealthy people who can afford expert lawyers are rarely sentenced to die.


The death penalty is particularly ineffective in deterring future crimes. In fact, states with the most executions also have the highest murder rates. People who commit murder rarely think about being caught, let alone what the punishment for their crimes would be.


And not only is the death penalty unfair, inequitable, and ineffective – it is also incredibly expensive and time-consuming.


Of the string of executions conducted in the final days of the Trump administration, the murder of Lisa Montgomery, the first woman in nearly 70 years to be executed, was particularly horrifying. She was subject to abuse and torture much of her life, which exacerbated her mental health condition and left her with no comprehension of what was happening to her. It was just one more shameful episode in the legacy of Trump.


I am urging President Biden to end the barbaric practice of federal executions and commute the sentences of all those on federal death row. You can read my letter to him here.


Congress must also act. We must formally abolish the death penalty, which is why I support the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act.


It is time to stop the carnage of the death penalty.