"Hickenlooper suggests granting clemency to Nathan Dunlap in interview," is by Jesse Paul in today's Denver Post.
Gov. John Hickenlooper suggested in a yet-to-be-aired television interview earlier this year that he could grant full clemency to convicted killer Nathan Dunlap should the governor lose his re-election battle this November.
Hickenlooper, in an interview with CNN, made the comments in response to questions about Republican criticism of his handling of Nathan Dunlap — the ex-Chuck E. Cheese employee who killed four in a 1993 shooting rampage at the Aurora restaurant-attraction — who is on death row.
CNN asked the governor about Republican gubernatorial candidates running on a pro-death penalty platform sparked by the Dunlap case. At the time the interview was conducted in early February, the GOP's nominee, former congressman Bob Beauprez, wasn't yet a candidate. However, the party's then-front-runner — firebrand Tom Tancredo — was adamant that he would execute Dunlap should he win the office.
A CNN interviewer asked Hickenlooper if, "God forbid," a Tancredo-style candidate who continued to make an issue of the death penalty won, what actions could Hickenlooper take?
"If they did do that, and somehow they won, there are obviously remedies that the governor could do," Hickenlooper said of his options. "I could do a full clemency between election day and the end of the year. There are a number of different opportunities to make sure that doesn't happen. Again, human life should not be a political football."
"Hickenlooper opens door to clemency in Dunlap case," is AP coverage, via the Aurora Sentinel.
Gov. John Hickenlooper suggested in a yet-unaired CNN interview that he could permanently end the death sentence of a multiple murderer on death row should he lose his re-election campaign because he gave the inmate a temporary reprieve from execution.
Hickenlooper made in the comments in an interview for a CNN series on the death penalty that is due to air later this week. But the conservative website Complete Colorado obtained an audio recording of the 45-minute interview and posted it over the weekend. In it, the Democratic governor expresses disgust that Republicans were considering making Nathan Dunlap a “political football.”
The Durango Herald reports, "Death-penalty debate enters governor’s race," by Peter Marcus.
In a taped interview with CNN earlier this year obtained by right-leaning commentary site Complete Colorado, Hickenlooper said of the death penalty debate: “If that becomes a political issue ... there’s a period of time between the election, and the end of the year where individuals can make decisions, such as a governor can.
“The issue that a political campaign would make a human life into ... a political football is unacceptable,” Hickenlooper continued in the interview. “If they did do that, and if somehow they won, there are obviously remedies that the governor can do. ... I could give it a full clemency between election day.”
The comments were made public Saturday morning on “The Craig Silverman Show” on 710 KNUS. CNN’s special series, “Death Row Stories,” is expected to air Friday.
Hickenlooper has been attacked by Republicans since his 2013 executive order concerning Dunlap, in which the governor granted a “temporary reprieve” from execution.
Westword posts, "John Hickenlooper: Would He Commute Nathan Dunlap's Death Penalty If He Loses?," by Michael Roberts.
In June 2013, a month after Governor John Hickenlooper granted Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap a reprieve from execution but didn't commute his sentence, a poll showed that Colorado voters disagreed with his decision by a three-to-one margin. Since then, the furor has faded -- but the issue is primed to move front-and-center in Hickenlooper's reelection bid against Republican hopeful Bob Beauprez thanks to a newly released audio recording (hear it below) in which Hick speculates about granting clemency to Dunlap should he lose.
Will the election come down to voters picking who's most likely to kill Dunlap? And how much ugliness will emerge along the way? Continue to get a sense of the possibilities, featuring responses from those on both sides of the controversy.
Today's Colorado Springs Gazette publishes the editorial, "Governor should decide killer's fate before election."
Gov. John Hickenlooper should decide right away whether Nathan Dunlap lives or dies. No more should this man's life be a political football.
Colorado Independent columnist Mike Littwin writes, "Death penalty politics, gutsy and easy." It's via the Aurora Sentinel.
There are two things we can be sure of, though.
One, the governor’s race won’t be decided by Nathan Dunlap or the death penalty. That’s why when Beauprez talks about Dunlap, he always plays the Hickenlooper leadership card. And the angle on this story is that Hickenlooper has said he wouldn’t revisit the Dunlap decision.
Two, the strangest part of this is that granting Dunlap a reprieve from the death penalty may have been the gutsiest thing Hickenlooper has done in his political life.
The easiest course would have been to let Dunlap die. Only the diehard anti-death-penalty people — most of them Democratic-voting liberals anyway — would have objected. There is no Dunlap constituency. There is no doubt of his guilt or of the horror of his crimes. There would be no political cost for Hickenlooper to pay.
Earlier coverage from Colorado begins at the link.