Asingle, horrific crime that catches the public attention can significantly alter the public debate on capital punishment - at least temporarily. The Cheshire home invasion case delayed Connecticut's repeal of the death penalty. A recent crime in Iowa has also stoked the dialogue in this abolitionist state.
Today's Des Moines Register reports, "Branstad won't bring up death penalty to Legislature," by William Petroski.
Gov. Terry Branstad, a longtime supporter of the death penalty for certain heinous crimes, made it clear Monday he won’t make capital punishment a priority in the legislative session that convenes in January.
Branstad said he has consistently believed that if someone commits rape or kidnapping, and then commits murder in an effort to cover up the crime, that the death penalty is appropriate.
“I also recognize the political realities of the General Assembly,” he added, saying passage of the death penalty would almost certainly be blocked in the Democrat-controlled Iowa Senate.
State Sen. Kent Sorenson, R-Milo, said last week he plans to introduce a bill to reinstate the death penalty. His comments came after the discovery of the bodies of two missing Evansdale girls, 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins and her cousin, 10-year-old Lyric Cook-Morrissey.
"Branstad won’t push to bring death penalty back in 2013," in the Ames Tribune.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad supports instituting the death penalty but won’t push for such legislation because he doubts it would clear the Senate.
Branstad, a Republican, said Monday he has long supported approval of a death penalty in cases of kidnap or rape where the victim is killed. In his earlier stint as governor, he tried unsuccessfully to approve capital punishment in Iowa.
Some Iowa lawmakers have called for changing Iowa law to allow the death penalty following the discovery last week of cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook, who went missing last summer.
“I like to focus on things that have a realistic chance of being approved,” Branstad told reporters during a Capitol press conference. “Considering the present makeup of the Senate, and Sen. Gronstal’s adamant position, we need to focus on things that I can accomplish in the next couple years.”
Earlier coverage includes the AP report, "Iowa GOP lawmaker to introduce death penalty bill," via the San Francisco Chronicle.
A state lawmaker said he plans to introduce a bill to reinstate the death penalty in Iowa following the recent discoveries of the bodies of two missing girls.
Iowa repealed capital punishment in 1965. State law allows life sentences for convictions of murder and the most serious cases of sexual assault and kidnapping.
"Even if it came up, it wouldn't pass," Fraise said. "Not only Democrats, but Republicans have pretty much agreed if we send someone to prison for life, they are sentenced to death in an institution."
"Iowa group voices opposition to death penalty in wake of discovery of missing Iowa girls," is from the Monday issue of the Des Moines Register.
An Iowa anti-death penalty group issued a news release Sunday affirming its opposition to any attempt at new death penalty legislation.
The release from Iowans Against the Death Penalty came after a Des Moines Register story about the possibility of reinstating the state’s death penalty after two bodies were found in rural Bremer County last week.
“The death of these two little girls is tragic,” the release said. “Iowans Against the Death Penalty will support the proper workings of Iowa’s legal and justice system in identifying and prosecuting the person or persons responsible for their deaths. In Iowa, persons convicted of first degree murder are automatically sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.”
IADP was founded in 1962 and promoted the repeal of Iowa’s death penalty in 1965. It was reconstituted in 1990 to oppose an initiative in the Iowa Legislature to reinstate the death penalty.
Related posts are in the state legislation index.