Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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Does North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's criminal-justice reform go far enough? Plus, Congress is running out of time to prevent a shutdown and default, and Oregon tackles climate change.

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The nation's murder rate is up, the Senate votes on raising the debt limit, the DEA warns about fake prescription painkillers, a new version of DACA could be on the way, and John Hinckley, Jr. could go free next year.

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A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Governor Mulls Death Penalty Moratorium to Save Money

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Thursday, July 16, 2020   

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - This week the nation saw the first federal execution in 17 years, and in Wyoming, Gov. Mark Gordon announced he will consider a moratorium for the death penalty as the state struggles with the economic fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic and a downturn in the energy sector.

Kylie Taylor, Wyoming coordinator with the group Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, praised the governor's recent comments before the state Legislature's appropriations committee.

"Governor Gorden speaking out is huge," says Taylor. "He's showing he wants to prioritize economic recovery over a failed government program that has cost Wyoming millions of dollars without any real benefit."

Wyoming is facing a $1.5 billion deficit, according to the Casper Star-Tribune. Taylor says state lawmakers approved $750,000 dollars for death-penalty defense in the current fiscal year.

Proponents of the death penalty argue it's an important deterrent for preventing murder, and brings justice and closure for surviving family members.

Taylor points to studies showing that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent. She adds that people of color are at much greater risk of being arrested, charged and executed, especially when victims are white.

"There is absolutely a racial disparity with the death penalty, and there are many statistics that show how racially biased it is," says Taylor. "Obviously, with everything going on in the country right now, this has been a really huge topic."

Taylor says in an imperfect justice system, the risk of executing even one innocent person is too high.

So far, eighteen people were exonerated by DNA testing in the U.S. after serving time on death row, according to the Innocence Project. More than 165 people sentenced to death in the U.S. have been exonerated since 1973.


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