Death Penalty Repeal Bill Considered in South Dakota

A bill that would repeal the death penalty in South Dakota was scheduled for a hearing in the House State Affairs Committee on February 10. The bill, HB 1245, would mandate life imprisonment without parole for people convicted of Class A felonies. South Dakota has only executed one person in the last 50 years, and currently has 3 people on death row. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Gerald Lange (D-Madison), and strongly supported by the Association of Christian Churches of South Dakota. Gene Miller, Executive Director of the Association, said, “We don’t have to go that far back in our history to find, for example, segregation laws. That made that legal, but it was never moral. Our position on this would probably be similar to that: You can make it legal, but that doesn’t necessarily make it right.” (South Dakota is one of several states considering legislative action regarding the death penalty this year. See DPIC’s Recent Legislative Activity page.)

(J. Oster, “Death Penalty Repeal Returns,” Public News Service - SD, February 10, 2010). See also New Voices: Religious Views.