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Virginia Capital Punishment News - Page 19
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  1. #181
    Senior Member Member Slayer's Avatar
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    is this something to worry about?

  2. #182
    Senior Member CnCP Addict Neil123's Avatar
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    Yeah with Stanley supporting it it’ll probably end up in a 20 20 tie Saslaw supports the death penalty and Chap Peterson is the other Democrat who supports it but it’s unknown how strong his support for it is compared to Saslaw. Fairfax breaking the 20 20 tie will not be good.

  3. #183
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    Prince William commonwealth’s attorney joins call to abolish the death penalty in Virginia

    Prince William County was once ranked 2nd in the country for sending people to death row. Now, the county’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Ashworth and 11 other Virginia commonwealth’s attorneys are calling for an end to the death penalty in Virginia.

    The Virginia Progressive Prosecutors for Justice, a group of commonwealth’s attorneys who advocate for criminal justice reforms, published a letter to General Assembly leaders on Monday outlining the reforms they’re supporting for in the upcoming legislative session, which begins on Jan. 13.

    “The death penalty is unjust, racially biased, and ineffective at deterring crime,” the letter said. “We have more equitable and effective means of keeping our communities safe and addressing society’s most heinous crimes. It is past time for Virginia to end this antiquated practice.”

    The group includes the commonwealth’s attorneys from the counties of Prince William, Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington, Henrico and Albemarle, and the cities of Alexandria, Charlottesville, Norfolk, Hampton, Portsmouth and Newport News. Together, the group says they represent about 40% of Virginia’s 8.5 million residents.

    In addition to abolishing the death penalty, the group is also advocating to end cash bail, mandatory sentences and the “three strikes” felony enhancement for larceny offenses. They’re also calling for the automatic expungement of criminal records once offenders have completed their sentences.

    Ashworth, who was elected commonwealth’s attorney in 2019, has been vocal about her opposition to the death penalty. She said in an email Monday, that while it is legal in Virginia, she remains “morally opposed to it.”

    “It is clear to me that this policy, like many policies involving criminal justice, disproportionately affects low-income individuals and people of color. Furthermore, repeated studies have shown it does not deter future criminal activity, which is a frequently cited justification,” Ashworth said.

    More than 1,500 people have been executed in the United States since 1976. Virginia ranks second in the nation for executions with 113 executions, behind only Texas. There are currently 2 people on death row in Virginia.

    Nationwide, the death penalty has disproportionately impacted African Americans. African Americans account for 34% of all executions while making up only 13% of the country’s population, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

    Ashworth noted that “the government sanctioned killing of a person who no longer poses an imminent threat to anyone” is also a costly process that could be better spent on crime prevention and deterrence. The state currently operates four capital defender offices that represent poor people charged with capital murder and facing the death penalty.

    “The prosecution of these cases costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, money that I suggest would be better spent on more effective strategies for preventing and deterring crime, which I wholeheartedly support,” Ashworth said.

    Prince William County was once notorious for its frequent use of the death penalty. Former county commonwealth’s attorney Paul Ebert, who served from 1968 until 2019, sent more killers to death row than any other prosecutor in Virginia.

    In 2013, the county was ranked in the top 2% of jurisdictions responsible for most of the executions that have taken place in the United States since 1976.

    Del. Lee Carter, D-50th, and state Sen. Scott Surovell, D-36th, both of whom represent parts of the Prince William County, introduced bills in the 2020 General Assembly session to ban the death penalty in Virginia. But both bills were killed.

    Carter, who is running for Virginia governor and for re-election in the 50th district, has re-introduced his bill ahead of the 2021 meeting of the General Assembly.

    (source: Prince William Times)
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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  4. #184
    Senior Member CnCP Addict Neil123's Avatar
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    Gov. Northam will introduce bill to end death penalty in Virginia

    Gov. Ralph Northam will be introducing a bill to abolish the death penalty that, if successful, would make Virginia the first Southern state to end capital punishment.

    “I understand about timing and I suspect this is the year to end the death penalty in Virginia,” Northam told the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Tuesday.

    “I’ve felt strongly about this for a long time,” the governor said. “We’ve been doing so much good work on equity, especially criminal justice reform, and we have the majority in the House and the Senate.”

    Although abolition bills have been introduced in the General Assembly frequently in recent decades, this appears to be the first time one will be introduced by a governor. This year’s regular session begins Wednesday.

    Virginia has conducted 113 executions since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976, a toll second in the country only to Texas with 570. Since 1608, there have been nearly 1,300 executions in Virginia, the most in the country.

    113 people executed in Virginia since 1982. However, no one has been sentenced to death in Virginia since 2011, or executed since 2017.

    And the state’s death row, which once hovered around 50, is now down to two men, both sentenced to death in Norfolk, who will have their sentences changed to life in prison without the possibility of parole if the bill becomes law.

    Northam has said that while he opposes the death penalty, he was prepared to uphold Virginia’s laws including capital punishment. But he said Tuesday that at this stage in their appeals, neither man would be facing execution during his term.

    “This bill would affect future governors, probably, more than it would me,” Northam said. He noted that no one had been sentenced to death in the state in nine years. “But, we need to take a permanent step — that’s what this is about, to end this in Virginia regardless of who is governor.”

    Northam referenced the 10 federal executions carried out by the administration of President Donald Trump last year after a 17-year hiatus on federal executions.

    On Tuesday, a federal judge in Washington issued a stay in two executions set for this week, including for Cory Johnson, 52, who was sentenced to death for seven 1992 murders in Richmond. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., wrote in a text message Tuesday: “Since Virginia has been a leader in executions, abolishing the death penalty here will also send a powerful abolition message across the country and world.”

    Kaine, a former governor, said he strongly supports Northam’s effort to end capital punishment in the state.

    “I am trying to do the same at the federal level. We don’t need the death penalty to fight crime. Instead, the death penalty has been applied in a manifestly racist way throughout our history,” Kaine wrote.

    One of the two men remaining on Virginia’s death row is Thomas Alexander Porter, 45, sentenced to death for the 2005 capital murder of Stanley Reaves, an officer with the Norfolk Police Department. The other is Anthony B. Juniper, 49, sentenced to death for the 2004 capital murders of Keshia Stephens; her brother Rueben Harrison III; and two of her daughters, Nykia Stephens, 4, and Shearyia Stephens, 2.

    Northam said Tuesday that he was not prepared to comment on what should or should not be said to the survivors of the victims in the Norfolk cases, who may believe the death penalty is warranted.

    “But, I think it’s fair to say we always have to be respectful of victims’ families,” he said. “I think it’s well known, in a lot of cases ... the family members of the victims actually have been the ones who came forward and said we don’t agree with the death penalty.”

    One current Virginia death penalty opponent is Rachel Sutphin, who was 9 years old in 2006 when William C. Morva shot to death her father, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Eric Sutphin. Morva was executed in 2017.

    Northam said he has several reasons for opposing capital punishment. “I’ve always felt that it consumes an enormous amount of resources really without improving safety,” he said. “I think that’s very clear.” Another concern is that innocent people have been sentenced to death, Northam said. He pointed to the case of Earl Washington Jr., who came within nine days of execution for a 1982 rape and murder in Culpeper that DNA later proved was committed by someone else.

    “And then, I don’t know if it’s the doctor in me or just my human nature,” he said of his opposition.

    Northam said he believes the chances the bill will pass in the Democratic-controlled General Assembly are good. “I haven’t polled every legislator but ... we’ve made a lot of progress in the last three years, especially the last year, with criminal justice reform and I think everybody agrees we need to continue.”

    One influential group opposing abolition legislation last year was the Virginia State Police Association. Alena Yarmosky, spokeswoman for Northam, said that it is unclear when the bill will be filed but that Northam is expected to endorse the legislation during his State of the Commonwealth address on Wednesday.

    Del. Mike Mullin, D-Newport News, said Tuesday that he will carry the bill in the House and an identical bill in the Senate will be carried by Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, and Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County.

    “To our knowledge, there has never been a governor who has patroned abolition,” said Mullin, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Hampton.

    “There have been bills in the House and Senate for at least 30 years that rarely, if ever, have gotten a hearing and certainly have not had gubernatorial backing,” Mullin said. “This is a sea change in criminal justice.” I have every expectation that we’re going to be able to achieve this in this session,” he said.

    Last week a group of African American pastors in Virginia called for abolishing the death penalty in the upcoming General Assembly, citing racial disparities in its use. While Blacks make up 20% of Virginia’s population, they account for 46% of those executed since 1976.

    According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 25 states, including Virginia, have the death penalty, 22 states do not, and three states have governor-imposed moratoriums. The American Bar Association reported that as of January 2020, 33 states had either abolished the death penalty or have not executed anyone in at least a decade.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/richmon...71632.amp.html

  5. #185
    Senior Member CnCP Addict johncocacola's Avatar
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    Something I didn’t see coming, Senator Creigh Deeds and Richard Saslaw both voted to advance the repeal bill in the judiciary committee. It will almost certainly make its way to Northam’s desk now.

  6. #186
    Senior Member CnCP Addict Neil123's Avatar
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    Creigh Deeds voted to keep the bill alive last year so that’s not surprising at all. Saslaw surprised me the most. Do you have the link to where they voted to move the bill along John? I can’t find it on their site.
    Last edited by Neil123; 01-18-2021 at 11:26 AM.

  7. #187
    Senior Member CnCP Addict johncocacola's Avatar
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    Deeds said he disagreed with both the Atkins and Ruper SCOTUS decisions, I wasn’t sure if his vote last year was symbolic or not. Virginia is a much different state than 20 years ago, big time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil123 View Post
    Creigh Deeds voted to keep the bill alive last year so that’s not surprising at all. Saslaw surprised me the most. Do you have the link to where they voted to move the bill along John? I can’t find it on their site.
    The votes are not yet on the general assembly’s website, but I got them from Senator Boysko’s Twitter. Republican Senator Bill Stanley joined all the Democrats.

  8. #188
    Senior Member CnCP Addict Neil123's Avatar
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    Stanley supporting it is not surprising. He was never in agreement with the death penalty. He never voted in favor of the secrecy law in 2016. Stanley was the only Republican in support of it correct?

  9. #189
    Senior Member CnCP Addict johncocacola's Avatar
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    Correct, I’d say the writing is on the wall now.

  10. #190
    Senior Member CnCP Addict Neil123's Avatar
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    That’s definitely true. Virginia’s gone for good. Now the next two states that will lose the death penalty are Wyoming and Utah.

    Wyoming is certainly the one to lose it and Utah is up in the air but it’s no loss anyway for those two jurisdictions they were never serious on it. Virginia and Delaware are two the jurisdictions that we lost that were ever serious on it.

    I wanted NH to reinstate it even though they only have one person on their death row and the fact its going to trend to the right and Sunnunu supports it so he could’ve executed Michael Addison. However, that’s just a fantasy.
    Last edited by Neil123; 01-18-2021 at 01:06 PM.

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