NEW VOICES: Retired Colorado Judge Changes Mind on Death Penalty

Leland Anderson served as a judge in Jefferson County, Colorado, sentencing one man to death while sparing another. In a recent op-ed in The Denver Post, Anderson wrote how those cases affected him: “Those cases continue to haunt me even to this day, many years after having signed off on the decisions with a trembling heart.” He said his views on the death penalty have changed since he was on the bench: “I have had much time to reflect on the experience of judging another person’s life or death. The conclusion I have reached is that I can no longer support the death penalty even though I once voted in favor of executing a man…. What I have finally come to realize is that I cannot support the death penalty because what I hold dearest in life is the promise of redemption.” Anderson concluded “that the death penalty represents an anti-life force in society,” and called for an end to capital punishment.

(L. Anderson, “Abandon the death penalty, retired judge urges,” Denver Post, March 7, 2013). Colorado’s legislature will be taking up a bill to repeal the death penalty. See New Voices and Recent Legislation.