July 25, 2019

Feinstein on Resumption of Federal Death Penalty

Feinstein on Resumption of Federal Death Penalty

            Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the administration’s announcement that it will resume carrying out the death penalty:

            “The decision by this administration to resume the federal death penalty after a nearly two-decade hiatus is wrong.

            “Several years ago I changed my position on the death penalty after a number of things became clear to me.

            “First, the risk of unequal application is just too high; the racial disparity in the application of the death penalty is stunning.

            “Second, the death penalty’s utility as a deterrent doesn’t warrant its application. Many studies have found that it has little or no effect on the commission of crimes.

            “And third – and most importantly – I join many Americans who have great apprehension about giving the state the right to take a life.

            “These are just three of the many reasons that 21 states currently outlaw the death penalty. It’s time for the federal government to catch up.

            “Since 1973 there have been more than 160 death row exonerations. That’s more than 160 people who were sentenced to die but were later cleared. How many other innocent people weren’t so lucky? You can’t fix an improperly implemented death penalty.

            “The federal government should be leading the effort to end this brutal and often cruel punishment, not advocating for its return. It’s time we evolve and put this terrible practice behind us.”

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