DENVER, CO– The House today voted 38-27 on SB20-100 to repeal the death penalty in Colorado. The bill is now awaiting the governor’s signature.
“The death penalty is applied inconsistently and it is the one punishment in our entire justice system that can’t be undone or corrected,” said bill sponsor Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Brighton. “Across the nation, over 165 people have been wrongly convicted and sentenced to death since 1973. It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado and set an example for other states to follow.”
“I, like many of my colleagues who supported this bill today, believe that our state should no longer take part in capital punishment,” said bill sponsor Rep. Jeni James Arndt, D-Fort Collins. “I do not believe the state should hold the power of life and death.”
“Today, the House sent legislation to the governor to repeal the death penalty in Colorado,” said Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. “Humans are not infallible, and no system of justice can ever be perfect. The finality of the death penalty means that a mistake could not be corrected, and the potential for injustice is too great to bear.”
“Rarely are we asked to decide an issue that is as momentous, impactful, and as hard as this, and I have empathy and understanding for my colleagues who may find a different answer,” said Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver. “I have been humbled and moved by the testimony and debate that we have heard. My hope is for a society where we spend our resources on rehabilitation, not on appeals; on treating drug addictions, and not administering lethal injections.”
The House debated SB20-100 for 12 hours Monday night and into Tuesday morning. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, since 1973, more than 165 people have been wrongly sentenced to death and later exonerated. Of those exonerated, 87 were black. The bill previously passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 19-13.