Today's Canon City Daily Record publishes the editorial, "Colo. must rethink the death penalty."
If any crimes are worth the death penalty, they are the mass slaying at an Aurora movie theater and the gruesome killing of Jessica Ridgeway. Yet Colorado's death penalty did not dissuade either killer from acting.
Should none of these reasons compel the state Legislature from repealing the death penalty, then perhaps practical reasons will. As noted by Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, prosecuting a death penalty case through a verdict can cost the prosecution more than $1 million. That's more than 21 percent of the annual budget of the district attorney's office, which prosecutes 1,900 felonies a year.
Sending away a convicted murderer for life and avoiding the years of appeals that come with a death sentence more quickly makes him dead to society and allows victims to get on with their lives.
Denver attorney David Lane writes the OpEd, "Abolish death penalty in Colo.," in today's Denver Post.
It appears that the Colorado legislature is finally poised to give serious consideration to ending the barbaric, money-sucking relic of bygone years known as the death penalty.
Since 1968, Colorado has executed one person. The article in the Dec. 26 Denver Post noted that the death penalty annually costs Colorado taxpayers $1.5 million. It also quotes Attorney General John Suthers as saying that there are times we need the death penalty "for the safety of the people."
Mr. Suthers never explains how executing one person in the last 45 years, at a cost of approximately $50 million, has made our state safer. Spending tens of millions for one execution seems like the most preposterous waste of money imaginable, especially when one considers the law enforcement programs which could have been funded with those scarce dollars.
Mr. Suthers simply resorts to the time-tested tactic of whipping up hysteria over truly heinous crimes and offering a "solution" to the problem which involves the government spending more millions to kill people.
When Jared Loughner pleaded guilty in Arizona for the Gabby Giffords shootings and was sentenced to life without parole, the nightmare of court appearances ended for all of the remaining victims. They would not be forced to testify at trial, they would not have to endure endless appeals with the fear always lurking in their minds that he would get a new trial and they would once again be forced to relive the nightmare on the witness stand. He will be incarcerated forever, and the victims can focus on healing and not on a court case which will never end.
Nathan Dunlap has been on Colorado's death row for 20 years. Edward Montour's death sentence was reversed and he is back for a new trial 10 years after the crime. Even if he is again sentenced to death, 30 years will have passed between the crime and the punishment and millions of dollars will have been wasted.
Earlier coverage from Colorado begins at the link.