Legislative Activity - Massachusetts

  • Massachusetts Again Votes Overwhelmingly Against Reinstating Death Penalty After over an hour of debate, the Massachusetts House of Representatives overwhelmingly rejected an attempt to reinstate the death penalty. Prior to the 110-46 vote, Governor Deval Patrick had vowed to veto the bill if it were approved. The bill was similar to one submitted by former Governor Mitt Romney as a "gold standard" for capital punishment. State Representatives cited high costs and the possibility for human error as reasons for rejecting the bill. Rep. Sean F. Curran, D-Springfield stated, "I have always been opposed to the death penalty. The justice system is made up of people, and sometimes people make mistakes. When you're talking about the death penalty, there is no room for error." Since 1997, when the House narrowly defeated a bill reinstating the death penalty, the number of Representatives voting against subsequent death penalty bills increased with an 80-73 vote in 1999 and a 92-60 vote in 2001. During Governor Romney’s term in 2005, the death penalty bill was rejected 99-53. The last execution in Massachusetts was in 1947. (“House Rejects Death Penalty” by Dan Ring, The Republican)

  • On March 12, 2001, the Massachusetts House, by a 94-60 vote, defeated efforts to reinstate the death penalty. Among the reasons cited for voting against bringing back capital punishment was the recent exonerations of Peter Limone and Joseph Salvati, both of whom served over 30 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.