USA: Virginia abolishes the death penalty

Status: 02/23/2021 7:29 am

It is the 23rd state in the United States to abolish the death penalty: It is not a fair and effective instrument of criminal justice, according to Virginia’s explanation. 113 people have been executed there since 1976.

The Virginia Congress has decided to abolish the death penalty. Both chambers voted in favor, most recently the Senate with 22 to 16 votes. All that is needed now is the signature of Governor Ralph Northam. His approval is considered certain.

Northam released a joint statement after the vote with House Chairwoman Eileen Filler-Corn and Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw. “This is an important step forward to ensure that our criminal justice system is fair and equitable,” it said. “It is time we put an end to this machinery of death.”

Black people were disproportionately sentenced to death

Virginia, the statement says, has executed more people in its history than any other US state. Since 1976 there have been 113 executions, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The Democrats in particular argue that death sentences are disproportionately high on blacks, the mentally ill and the needy. Two inmates are currently on death row in Virginia. Your sentences are now commuted to life imprisonment.

So far, 22 of the 50 states in the United States have abolished the death penalty. On the one hand, this has to do with changing public opinion, but also the increasing difficulties in procuring the necessary substances for lethal injection. In addition, the death penalty usually leads to lengthy and costly litigation.

The federal government had not carried out any death sentences for almost two decades. However, the administration of ex-President Donald Trump pushed through its reintroduction. New President Joe Biden opposes the death penalty.

With information from Jule Käppel,
ARD-Studio Washington

Execution State of Virginia abolishes the death penalty

Jule Käppel, ARD Washington, February 23, 2021 7:50 am

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