NEW VOICES:  Missouri Senator Supports Death Penalty Repeal

Missouri State Senator Gina Walsh recently voiced her support for Senate Bill 247, a bill to repeal the death penalty and replace it with life without parole. Sen. Walsh cited the lack of deterrence and unfairness as her primary concerns about capital punishment. “It doesn’t deter crime. It discriminates against racial minorities and poor people who can’t afford attorneys,” Walsh said. The bill was recently heard in the Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee of the senate. Missouri has carried out two executions since 2005, and 68 since 1976. The state ranks 5th in the country in executions. Sen. Walsh called the death penalty “as much of a pro-life issue as abortion.” Although she said she was aware many of her constituents would not agree with her, she said, “I think when people are educated, support for the death penalty diminishes substantially. I don’t think I could sit, as a human being, on a jury…and put someone to death.”

(S. Levin, “Death Penalty Repeal in Missouri: Senator Gina Walsh Says Capital Punishment is Not Pro-Life,” Riverfront Times, March 4, 2013). See Recent Legislation and Deterrence. Maryland’s senate may vote on a death penalty repeal bill on March 5.