Effort to abolish Louisiana death penalty advances after Senate committee vote

Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, shepherded his bill to abolish the death penalty through a Senate committee on Tuesday. (Photo credit: Sarah Gamard/LSU Manship School News Service)

By: Hunter Lovell, LSU Manship School News Service

Published: Apr. 30, 2019

BATON ROUGE–A new effort to abolish the state’s death penalty advanced Tuesday with a 4-2 Senate committee vote on a bill proposed by Republican State Sen. Dan Claitor.

Louisiana is one of 31 states that permits capital punishment. Similar efforts to ban the death penalty have failed in recent years as they went through the legislative process.

Under this year’s bill, voters would decide whether to change Louisiana’s constitution to make it illegal to execute criminals for any offense committed on or after January 1, 2021. Judiciary Committee C also passed an amendment that would include the bill on the 2020 presidential ballot for voters to decide.

At the hearing, Morrell stressed that there have been numerous death row inmates who were later found to be innocent and that the states’ resources to convict someone are infinite but often unjust.

“In order for the death penalty to even be considered as a functional outreach of what government should do, you have to start from the position that you believe the government is infallible,” Morrell said. “If you do not hold that government gets it right every single time, then death should not be on the table.”

Read more in KALB.

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