Friday, February 26, 2021

Virginia lawmakers pass law that ends the death penalty

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Lawmakers on Monday passed a bill that will end the death penalty in Virginia, in a state that has executed more people over the years than anyone else in the United States.

According to the Guardian, legislation revoking the death penalty will now go to Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, who has already advanced that he will pass it, making Virginia the 23rd state preventing executions.

The new Democratic majority in the state has argued that the death penalty has been applied disproportionately to blacks, the mentally ill and destitute. Republicans, on the other hand, expressed concerns about justice for victims and their families, saying there are some crimes for which the perpetrators deserve to be executed.

Historically, the state has used the death penalty more often than any other, running almost 1,400 people, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, there have been 113 executions in Virginia, just behind Texas.

There are two men on death row in Virginia: Anthony Juniper, convicted in 2004 of the murders of his ex-girlfriend, two of his children and his brother; and Thomas Porter, convicted of murdering a police officer in Norfolk in 2005. Changing the law could convert his sentences to life in prison without parole.

Taísa Pagno Taísa Pagno //

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Virginia lawmakers pass law that ends the death penalty