Monday, March 23, 2009

US Senator Russ Feingold reintroduces bill to abolish federal death penalty

More on S.650 is here:|/b

The text of S.650 will be at:

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Feingold's Longtime Effort Comes as New Mexico Repeals Death Penalty

Washington, D.C. - As momentum builds in states to abolish the death penalty,
U.S. Senator Russ Feingold reintroduced legislation today to abolish the death
penalty at the federal level. Feingold's Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act
of 2009 would put an immediate halt to federal executions and forbid the use
of the death penalty as a sentence for violations of federal law. The use of
the death penalty has been questioned by a range of prominent voices across
the country, recently repealed in New Mexico and New Jersey, and abolished by
123 countries around the world. Feingold's bill would stop executions on the
federal level, which are part of a death penalty system that has proven to be
ineffective, wrought with racial disparities, and alarmingly costly.

"I oppose the death penalty because it is inconsistent with basic American
principles of justice, liberty and equality," Feingold said. "Governor Bill
Richardson and the New Mexico legislature's action to abolish the death
penalty in that stateadds to the growing momentum behind ending the death
penalty in this country. It is truly unfortunate that we are in a shrinking
minority of countries that continue to allow state-sponsored executions."

Feingold is not alone in his opposition to the death penalty. A range of
prominent voices have questioned the system in recent years, including former
FBI Director William Sessions, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day
O'Connor, law enforcement officials and many others across the political
spectrum. In 2007, only China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan executed more
people than the United States.

In 2007, Feingold chaired a Senate Judiciary Committee, Constitution
Subcommittee hearing on oversight of the federal death penalty that
highlighted the lack of transparency at the Department of Justice in the
decision-making process about the death penalty and continuing problems of
racial disparities in the federal system. Also in 2007, the American Bar
Association called for a nationwide moratorium on capital punishment based on
its detailed study of state death penalty systems, which found racial
disparities, convictions based on bad evidence, grossly inadequate indigent
defense systems, and a host of other problems with the implementation of
capital punishment in this country.

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