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May 7 2009 | UNITED STATES


Senate rejects repealing death penalty

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Colorado Senate rejects repealing death penalty

DENVER - The Colorado Senate on Wednesday rejected a proposal to abolish the death penalty and fund cold case investigations with the savings from ending capital punishment prosecutions.

Four Democrats sided with Republicans, voting 18-17 to narrowly defeat the bill on the last day of the current state Legislature's term. The state House of Representatives had passed a similar proposal by one vote last month.

Before the vote, outgoing Senate President Peter Groff pleaded with legislators to pass the bill, asking them to put aside election fears and stand up for the sanctity of life.

He said the question of who lives and dies shouldn't be decided by prosecutors under political pressure or a «governor wracked by guilt.» Gov. Bill Ritter had not indicated whether he would have signed the bill if it made it to his desk. When he was Denver district attorney, he unsuccessfully sought the death penalty seven times.

State Sen. John Morse, one of the Democrats who voted against the bill, objected to tying abolishing the death penalty with the funding of cold cases because the Senate this week came up with new fees to pay for investigations of unsolved crimes. He said the death penalty portion of the bill should have been given its own vote.

Howard Morton, the executive director of Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons, said the decision to unite cold case advocates with death penalty foes has brought more attention to the issue.

«We're going to be back with this type of bill next year, and we're going to win,» he said.



El Senado de Colorado rechaza derogar la pena de muerte en ese estado

Washington, 6 may - El Senado de Colorado (EE.UU.) rechazó hoy una propuesta para derogar la pena de muerte en ese estado que había sido aprobada en el Congreso local el mes pasado.

La medida, que ha sido fuertemente debatida, no pasó finalmente el filtro de la cámara alta, ya que cuatro senadores demócratas votaron con los republicanos en contra, informó la prensa local.

Los partidarios del proyecto de ley presentado argumentan que es más importante encontrar y enjuiciar a los asesinos que siguen sueltos que ejecutar a los condenados.

El proyecto se había aprobado en abril en el Congreso del estado por un solo voto de diferencia.

Los fiscales de Colorado habían propuesto mantener la pena capital como una opción para los delitos atroces.

El Tribunal Supremo estadounidense restableció la pena de muerte en 1976, un castigo que todavía está vigente en 35 de los 50 estados del país.

Aunque todavía cuenta con el respaldo de la mayoría de los ciudadanos, según encuestas recientes, en los últimos años la pena de muerte ha sido criticada por errores en los procesos contra los condenados, así como por denuncias de una presunta ineptitud de los abogados defensores.

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