Bid to end death penalty in Louisiana fails

Catholic News Agency | 5/8/2019 | Staff
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Baton Rouge, La., May 8, 2019 / 11:00 am (CNA).- A proposal to allow voters to decide if capital punishment should remain legal in Louisiana has been defeated in the state senate.

Senate Bill 112 would have added a question to the next state-wide ballot proposing a constitutional amendment to abolish the death penalty. It was defeated Monday by a vote of 25-13 against, having needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

Measure - Committee - April - Debate - Bill

The measure narrowly passed out of legislative committee on April 30. Speaking during the senate debate, the bill’s sponsor Sen. Dan Claitor, (R-Baton Rouge) said that respect for all human life was paramount.

"It's a morally wrong thing to do, and at the end of the day, it cheapens life," Claitor said.

Senator - Prosecutor - Execution - Deterrent - Application

The senator, a former prosecutor, argued that execution did not work as an effective deterrent, was often flawed in its application, and had resulted in miscarriages of justice.

Claitor was supported by a minority of senators across party lines.

Sen - JP - Morrell - D-New - Orleans

Sen. JP Morrell (D-New Orleans) spoke during the committee debate about the high percentage of exonerations of death row inmates which suggested the potential for mistaken executions.

"It's indisputable that we had people on death row who were [then] found innocent," Morrell said in support of Claitor's bill.

State - Representative - Terry - Landry - D-New

State representative Terry Landry (D-New Iberia) has proposed a similar measure in the House. A former superintendent of the Louisiana State Police and a former supported of capital punishment, he said that his beliefs had evolved and that he “now believe[s] the death penalty is wrong."

The measure was supported by the Catholic bishops of the state. Speaking on behalf of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, executive director Rob Tasman said that "justice can never be...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Catholic News Agency
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