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Washington Post Opinions: I prayed Virginia would end the death penalty. It finally did — and gave other states hope. Tim Kaine

February 19, 2021 Tim Kaine, a Democrat, represents Virginia in the U.S. Senate and was governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010.

I met my wife, Anne, a native Virginian, in law school in the early 1980s. Idealistic youngsters, we grappled with whether to live in Richmond or my hometown of Kansas City. A key consideration in our choice of Virginia was the Biblical phrase “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” There seemed to be so much work to be done here.

Executioners sanitized accounts of deaths in federal cases

February 17, 2021 CHICAGO (AP) — Executioners who put 13 inmates to death in the last months of the Trump administration likened the process of dying by lethal injection to falling asleep and called gurneys “beds” and final breaths “snores.”
But those tranquil accounts are at odds with reports by The Associated Press and other media witnesses of how prisoners’ stomachs rolled, shook and shuddered as the pentobarbital took effect inside the U.S. penitentiary death chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana. The AP witnessed every execution.

Virginia House joins Senate in voting to end death penalty

Virginia State Capitol

Feb 5, 2021 RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia moved another step closer to ending capital punishment on Friday when the state House joined the Senate in voting to abolish the death penalty.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam supports the legislation, which would make Virginia the 23rd state to stop executions. It's a dramatic shift for Virginia, which has put more people to death over its centuries-long history than any other state.

Despite the surge of executions, the collapse of capital punishment is inevitable

" To abolish the death penalty, we must create a movement that is grounded in relationship building and truth telling. The movement to abolish the death penalty is gaining ground, despite the recent rush to execute several people living on federal death row. To reach this goal, we must create a movement that is grounded in relationship building and truth telling. How we get to abolition is as important as the hopeful inevitability we will get there."
The following article was published by Friends of Reconcilation after the federal executions.

South Dakota Former Prosecutor Introduces Bill to Limit the State’s Death Penalty

A South Dakota state senator who previously served as a prosecutor and a state court judge has introduced a bill to limit the breadth of the state’s death penalty statute. Senate Bill 98, introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arthur Rusch (R – Clay, pictured) on January 25, 2021, would restrict capital punishment to a single aggravating circumstance, premeditated murders in which a defendant killed a police officer, corrections officer, or firefighter during the performance of their official duties.

Democratic Legislators Introduce Death Penalty Repeal Bills, Urge President Biden to Commute Federal Death Sentences

Posted: January 20, 2021 Democratic members of the U.S. House and Senate have called on incoming President Joe Biden (pictured) to take quick action on his campaign pledge to end the federal death penalty. Legislators introduced three bills to abolish the federal death penalty and urged the President to issue executive orders to halt federal executions and commute the death sentences of those on federal death row.

Committee advances bill to end death penalty to Virginia Senate floor

1/26/2021 (The Center Square) – A Virginia Senate committee voted Tuesday to advance legislation that would abolish the death penalty in the commonwealth.

Senate Bill 1165, sponsored by Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Mount Vernon, would eliminate the use of the death penalty in Virginia, including for those who are on death row.

Four people are on death row in Virginia, and the state’s last execution was in 2017. Since 2010, eight people have been executed in the state.

MLK Day 2021: The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Death Penalty

From the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC)

On Martin Luther King Day, DPIC looks at the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s views on capital punishment.

In a November 1957 article in Ebony, Dr. King was asked “Do you think God approves the death penalty for crimes like rape and murder?” He responded, “I do not think that God approves the death penalty for any crime, rape and murder included…. Capital punishment is against the better judgment of modern criminology, and, above all, against the highest expression of love in the nature of God.”

Colorado is the 22nd state to abolish the death penalty

Tue March 24, 2020 (CNN) The death penalty will soon be no more in Colorado. Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation on Monday abolishing the death penalty, making Colorado the 22nd state to do so.

He also commuted the sentences of three men on death row. Robert Ray, Sir Mario Owens and Nathan Dunlap will now serve life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to a news release.

Appeals court rejects DOJ request to resume executions

12/2/2019 A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Monday denied the Justice Department's efforts to lift a temporary halt on four federal executions.

The department had appealed a trial judge's ruling last month that ordered a stay of the executions while a separate legal challenge to the Trump administration's new lethal injection protocol plays out.

The longest running of the four lawsuits was filed 16 years ago, and the cases went dormant during the Obama administration amid a shortage of lethal injection drugs.

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