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USA: COLORADO ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY

March 24, 2020:

Colorado became the 22nd U.S. state to abolish the death penalty, and the tenth to do so in the past decade-and-a-half, as Governor Jared Polis signed legislation repealing the state’s capital punishment statute. Polis also issued executed orders commuting the death sentences of the three men on Colorado’s death row, Nathan Dunlap, Sir Mario Owens, and Robert Ray to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
“Commutations are typically granted to reflect evidence of extraordinary change in the offender. That is not why I am commuting these sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole,” Polis said in a written statement. “Rather, the commutations of these despicable and guilty individuals are consistent with the abolition of the death penalty in the state of Colorado, and consistent with the recognition that the death penalty cannot be, and never has been, administered equitably in the state of Colorado.”
The governor said he knows his decision won't be popular among all Coloradans.
“While I understand that some victims agree with my decision and others disagree, I hope this decision provides clarity and certainty for them moving forward," he said.
"The decision to commute these sentences was made to reflect what is now Colorado law, and done after a thorough outreach process to the victims and their families."
Polis’ decision to sign death penalty bill into law wasn’t a surprise. He had vowed to do so if it reached his desk.
At least one victim’s family on Monday (23 March) expressed disappointment about the news.
The legislation passed the Colorado General Assembly last month with bipartisan support, but opposition to the bill — while not enough to stop its passage — was both fierce and emotional.
Two Democrats, Sen. Rhonda Fields and Rep. Tom Sullivan, vehemently opposed the repeal. Fields’ son and his fiancée were killed by Ray and Owens.
Sullivan’s son was murdered during the 2012 Aurora theater shooting and prosecutors tried unsuccessfully to sentence the gunman to death.
“It’s just hard for me to describe how I’m feeling,” Rhonda Fields said. “I feel like justice was just hijacked after years and years of court proceedings. Here we are with the stroke of a pen the governor just sweeps it away.”
Dunlap, who was sentenced to be executed in 1996, has spent the most time on death row of any inmate in modern Colorado history. He exhausted the last appeal he is legally guaranteed more than seven years ago.
Three of the people Dunlap murdered in 1993 were teenagers, working the closing shift at the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant.
The cases of Ray and Owens are still going through the appellate process. They were sentenced to die for their roles in killing Javad Marshall Fields and his fiancée, Vivian Wolfe, in 2005.
Javad Marshall Fields was a witness to another fatal shooting and was targeted because he was set to testify in that case.
Pending cases can still result in death penalty.
Polis didn’t have to commute the sentences of the death row inmates. Senate Bill 100 is not retroactive and thus doesn’t affect their cases.
He suggested last year that he would commute their sentences if the legislature sent him a bill repealing the death penalty.
The last person Colorado put to death was Gary Lee Davis, who was executed in 1997 for kidnapping, raping and murdering a woman.
Prosecutors in Arapahoe, Denver and El Paso counties have in recent years sought capital punishment in a handful of cases, but juries rejected their efforts. Not since June 2009, when Ray was sentenced, has a Colorado jury signed off on death.
There are multiple pending death penalty cases and potential death penalty cases in Colorado.
Those cases can still continue because Senate Bill 100 makes defendants ineligible for capital punishment only if they are charged on or after 1st July 2020.

(Source: DPIC, nbcnews.com, coloradosun.com, 23/03/2020)

SOMALILAND: PRESIDENT TO RELEASE 800 PRISONERS IN COMBATING COVID-19
INDIA: GUJARAT MAN GETS DEATH PENALTY FOR RAPING, KILLING 3-YEAR-OLD GIRL
JAPAN: DEATH PENALTY FINALIZED FOR 2016 SAGAMIHARA CARE HOME MASS MURDERER
BOTSWANA: TWO MEN EXECUTED FOR MURDER
ZIMBABWE: PRESIDENT MNANGAGWA PARDONS 5,000 PRISONERS AS HE ORDERS 21-DAY LOCKDOWN
EGYPT: 5 SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER DAMAGING PIPELINE, CAUSING 9 DEATHS
SRI LANKA: PRESIDENT PARDONS SOLDIER WHO KILLED TAMIL CIVILIANS
UNITED KINGDOM SUPREME COURT RULES BRITAIN CANNOT PROVIDE EVIDENCE TO U.S. FOR USE IN DEATH-PENALTY CASES
YEMEN: HOUTHI REBELS PARDON BAHA'I SENTENCED TO DEATH, RELEASE ALL MINORITY GROUP PRISONERS
JAPAN: HANGED EX-AUM MEMBER URGED WOULD-BE TERRORISTS TO HALT ATTACKS
IRAN: 70 POLITICAL PRISONERS IN TEHRAN AND KARAJ PROTEST SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS
A DAY AFTER NIRBHAYA CONVICTS' EXECUTION, UN ASKS STATES TO 'HALT USE OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT'
UAE: COURT UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE OF FATHER WHO SEXUALLY ABUSED DAUGHTER
NIGERIA: SIX DEATH SENTENCES FOR MURDER IN EKITI
CHINA: COURT HANDS RARE DEATH SENTENCE TO RAPIST WHO HELD GIRL CAPTIVE FOR 24 DAYS
NORTH KOREA: SMUGGLER EXECUTED AFTER CROSSING SINO-NORTH KOREAN BORDER
YEMEN: HOUTHI-RUN COURT UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE AGAINST BAHA’I PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE
ZIMBABWE: SERIAL RAPIST SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDER
IRAN: ANOTHER NOVEMBER PROTESTER SENTENCED TO DEATH
SYRIA: PRESIDENT ASSAD ISSUES AMNESTY, REDUCES SENTENCES
IRAN: SUPREME LEADER TO PARDON 10,000 INCLUDING POLITICAL PRISONERS
INDIA: FOUR MEN EXECUTED FOR BRUTAL 2012 DELHI BUS RAPE AND MURDER
PAKISTAN: COURT AWARDS DEATH PENALTY IN MURDER CASE IN SARGODHA
NIGERIA: MAN GETS DEATH SENTENCE FOR STEALING TWO PHONES, WRISTWATCHES
JAPAN: CARE HOME MASS MURDERER WILL NOT APPEAL DEATH PENALTY RULING
PAKISTAN: MURDER ACCUSED GETS DEATH SENTENCE
YEMEN: PRO-HOUTHI COURT SENTENCES 19 SENIOR ARMY OFFICERS TO DEATH
USA: UPDATES ON GUANTÁNAMO BAY
BANGLADESH: FATHER, UNCLE GET DEATH PENALTY FOR THE MURDER OF FIVE-YEAR-OLD CHILD
INDIA: 3 CONVICTS GET DEATH PENALTY FOR GANG RAPE, MURDER OF MINOR GIRL IN 4-DAY TRIAL

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