MT: Bill to abolish death penalty clears State Senate

Started by Rick4404, February 24, 2009, 03:27:26 AM

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Rick4404

Montana's state senate has passed legislation that would abolish the death penalty in the state and replace it with life in prison without parole. The bill will now be considered by the state House of Representatives.

Quote
State senate passes death penalty ban

Associated Press
Thursday, February 19, 2009

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The state Senate has voted 27 to 23 to abolish the death penalty in Montana. Senate Bill 236, sponsored by Sen. Dave Wanzenried, D-Missoula, passed third reading on Tuesday afternoon and will now go to the House for a vote.

Senate Bill 236 was the subject of passionate debate Monday on the Senate floor as proponents said the death penalty doesn't accomplish what it sets out to do and opponents said it needs to be available as an option to deter the worst criminals.
The final Senate vote was mostly along party lines, except for six Republicans who voted for SB 236 and two Democrats who voted against it.

Should House members also support the bill, the death penalty would be replaced in Montana with life in prison without the possibility of parole.

If Montana does ban the death penalty, it would be joining 14 other states that have done so in recent years. Other states such as Maryland are considering abolishing it as well.

Similar measures to abolish the death penalty in Montana have failed previously in the Legislature. Montana currently has two inmates awaiting execution at the state prison near Deer Lodge, Mont.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, has not announced whether or not he would sign the bill if it crosses his desk.





JT

Rut roh.

I seem to recall that the Montana House passed a death penalty abolition Bill a few years ago, but it was narrowly defeated in the Senate.  Obviously the political makeup of the Senate has changed - and I bet you that those six Republicans voting in favour of the Bill are Catholics.

This decision to abolish the death penalty in Montana is likely to now rest with Gov. Schweitzer.
JT's Ridiculous Quote of the Century:
"I'm disgusted with the State for even putting me in this position."
-- Reginald Blanton, Texas death row.  As of October 27, 2009, Reggie's position has been in a coffin.

Rick4404

If the full House of Representatives does vote to pass the bill, then it goes on to Gov. Schweitzer. He would then either sign it into law or veto it. Although I do not know the public sentiment about the death penalty in Montana right now; I would have to give it a 60-40 chance that Schweitzer would veto it. That's strictly an uneducated guess on my part, however.

Jeff1857

House panel votes down bill to abolish the death penalty


A House committee this morning voted down the bill to abolish the death penalty in Montana, likely killing the bill.

On an 8-10 vote, the House Judiciary Committee against Senate District 236, which would abolish the death penalty in the state and replace it with a sentence of life in prison without parole.

All nine Republicans on the evenly split committee voted against the bill, as did Democratic Rep. Arlene Becker of Billings. The panel's remaining 8 Democrats voted for the measure.

Unless supporters of SB236 can somehow change a vote in the committee or revive the bill on the House floor - which is unlikely - the bill is dead. The measure had been approved by the Republican-controlled Senate last month.

Committee members on both sides of the issue often cited religious and biblical reasons or justifications for their vote today.

Rep. Deb Kottel, D-Great Falls, said she believes that people have a right to repent for their crimes, and that capital punishment essentially erases that right.

"If someone truly repents and goes to God and makes amends to God, then what right do I have to take their life at that time?" she sad. "(And) if someone has not repented to God, then who am I to shorten their time on this Earth?"

Some lawmakers who voted against the bill quoted scripture they said supports the death penalty.

"Numbers 35 ... says if you do not put to death the murderers, the blood of the innocent is on the land," said Rep. Wendy Warburton, R-Havre. "And our job here is to represent the people of the land."

Rep. Ken Peterson, R-Billings, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, said the Old and New testaments of the Bible and the Book of Mormon all support the death penalty.

"I think you need to leave this arrow in the quiver of the county attorneys out there," he added.

Rep. Mike Menahan, D-Helena, who works as a county prosecutor, said he supports the bill because of the incredible cost of carrying out the death penalty, both monetarily and in the public's faith in the system.

"I think having the death penalty does more to undermine the public's faith in their laws and the criminal justice system and the system's ability to treat people fairly almost more than any other thing," he said. "I think those costs far outweigh anything that we gain from having the death penalty."

Supporters of the bill, who had mounted an intense lobbying effort during the session, declined immediate comment today.

(source: Helena Independent Record)

****************************

Montana to keep death penalty


Montana lawmakers decided Monday that the state will be keeping its death penalty, likely ending a strong push to ban the punishment this year.

A measure to end capital punishment had passed the GOP-controlled Senate, giving-death penalty opponents hope that it could clear the Legislature this year -- especially after New Mexico lawmakers passed a ban earlier this month.

But the Montana House Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 against the ban. It would be difficult, but not impossible, for those pushing the ban to bring the bill back this year.

Supporters of Senate Bill 236 argue that enforcing the death penalty costs more than mandatory life in prison without parole, and that the risk of executing an innocent man is too great. The supporters of a ban also said the death penalty is unethical and is hard on employees of the justice and corrections systems.

"We all have an obligation to make society safe, and I think life without parole does that," said Rep. Deborah Kottel, D-Great Falls. "I think it is too easy to take the life of a person under the guise of making society safe."

Those seeking to keep the death penalty say any problems with the current system can be fixed. They also argued the death penalty is for only the most heinous criminals, deters murderers, is used very rarely in Montana and then in only the right cases.

"I think you have people out there who are animals," said Rep. Ken Peterson, R-Billings. "If the crime justifies it, you execute them. If it doesn't, you put them in prison."

2 inmates are on death row in Montana. One is Canadian Ronald A. Smith, who has been the subject of some debate in his home country over whether to keep seeking clemency that would change his penalty to life in prison. In the early 1980s Smith was convicted of a double murder.

Montana has executed 3 people since reinstatement of the death penalty in the 1970s. The most recent execution, of convicted murderer David Dawson, occurred in 2006.

When New Mexico banned the death penalty this month, it became just the 2nd state after New Jersey to do so since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. 14 other states do not impose capital punishment.

(source: Great Falls Tribune)


vikkiw47

Well thank goodness for that ! Jeff do you know how many on MT death row are out of appeals ??? Not that it makes any difference. Just curious
Justice is not about bringing back the dead. It is not about revenge either. Justice is about enforcing consequences for one's own actions to endorse personal responsibility. We cannot expect anyone to take responsibility for their own actions if these consequences are not enforced in full.

Rick4404


Well thank goodness for that ! Jeff do you know how many on MT death row are out of appeals ??? Not that it makes any difference. Just curious

There are only two men awaiting execution on death row in Montana. The inmates are housed in the maximum-security unit at Montana State Prison. There is no actual section called Death Row. Neither man is close to an execution date as both have numerous appeals left.

One of those inmates is a Canadian citizen, Brian Allan Smith. Smith's case has drawn some controversy in Canada. Of course Canada does not have a death penalty. The last vestiges of capital punishment in Canada were abolished in the 1960s. Previous federal governments in Canada had objected through diplomatic channels as a matter of policy to Smith's death sentences.

In 2007, the federal government of Canada under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, chose not to seek clemency in his case and said it would allow Montana to execute him. That more or less ended the Canadian government's official involvement with Smith's case. Prior to this case, Canada had objected when any country sentenced a Canadian national to death. As of 2009, Smith remains on Montana's death row.


Moh

The Canadian Supreme Court has recently ordered the Harper administration to seek clemency. Not that it should make any difference.

Rick4404

#7
June 12, 2009, 06:46:36 PM Last Edit: June 12, 2009, 07:11:02 PM by Rick4404

The Canadian Supreme Court has recently ordered the Harper administration to seek clemency. Not that it should make any difference.

Largely a symbolic gesture. Canadian federal judges are appointed by the Governor General, baded upon who's recommendation? The Prime Minister's of course. Canada operates under a parliamentary democracy system of government in which the Queen of England (officially Canada's head of state) is represented by a vice-regal known as a governor general. It is a largely symbolic and ceremonial role, except the governor general does have some reserve and rarely used constitutional authority.

The Queen appoints a governor general upon the recommendation of the Canadian prime minister. The governor general then only acts upon the recommendation of the prime minister. You see where we're going with this. If Harper wanted any or all of the Canada Supreme Court justices out -- all he'd have to do is snap his fingers and the governor general would have to abide by his request. The justices would then be replaced by people who Harper would want to sit on the bench of the highest court in Canada. I don't believe there is a confirmation process as we have here in the United States. Once the Prime Minister's choice is known, the Governor General takes care of it and that's that.

Accordingly, Canada's head of government is the Prime Minister, who is assisted by a some 30 member cabinet. The prime minister as well as the cabinet members are also members of the legislative branch. The prime minister and most of the Cabinet members are elected to the House of Commons, although some members of the Cabinet are appointed members of the Senate. Each represents a constituency, parliament district (they call them "Ridings" in Canada) just as all of the members of the House of Commons do, in addition to their duties and responsibilities as cabinet ministers. One member of Parliament is elected from each riding.

Each province and territory in Canada is divided up into these ridings on the basis of population from the last national census in Canada. Prime Minister Harper represents a district from the Calgary, Alberta area in addition to his duties as Canada's head of government. The prime minister is the head of the party which controls the most seats in Canada's House of Commons. Canada's Parliament does have an upper chamber called the Senate. The members of the Senate are appointed and not elected popularly as the members of the House are. Senators are appointed by the Governor General upon the advice of the Prime Minister.

AnneTheBelgian

http://www.kaj18.com/news/bill-introduced-to-repeal-montana-s-death-penalty/

Montana Legislature

Bill introduced to repeal Montana's death penalty

Posted: Jan 17, 2011 8:26 PM

by Breanna Roy (KPAX News)

Updated: Jan 17, 2011 8:37 PM

HELENA - Legislators are again trying to end Montana's death penalty.

Missoula Senator Dave Wazenried (D) is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 185, which would replace the death penalty.

The bill has the support of Missoula senators Ron Erickson (D), Cliff Larson (D) and Carol Williams (D). Eight other Democrats and six Republicans make up the bill's other signatories.

A prisoner would never become eligible for parole and could never be released from prison under the proposed measure.





Link to read the proposed measure : http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2011/billpdf/SB0185.pdf













Anne





"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

PRO DEATH PENALTY AND PROUD OF IT !!!

JE MAINTIENDRAI (MOTTO OF WILLIAM I THE SILENT, PRINCE OF ORANGE, 1533 - 1584, MOTTO OF THE NETHERLANDS)

DEO JUVANTE (MOTTO OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO)

PROUD TO BE BELGIAN !!! I LOVE MY KINGDOM !!!

JTiscool


http://www.kaj18.com/news/bill-introduced-to-repeal-montana-s-death-penalty/

Montana Legislature

Bill introduced to repeal Montana's death penalty

Posted: Jan 17, 2011 8:26 PM

by Breanna Roy (KPAX News)

Updated: Jan 17, 2011 8:37 PM

HELENA - Legislators are again trying to end Montana's death penalty.

Missoula Senator Dave Wazenried (D) is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 185, which would replace the death penalty.

The bill has the support of Missoula senators Ron Erickson (D), Cliff Larson (D) and Carol Williams (D). Eight other Democrats and six Republicans make up the bill's other signatories.

A prisoner would never become eligible for parole and could never be released from prison under the proposed measure.





Link to read the proposed measure : http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2011/billpdf/SB0185.pdf













Anne


Oh god, not again. I hope like last time this one fails. Does anyone know what the incoming Governor's stance on the death penalty is?
My reason for supporting the death penalty? A murderer has less of a right to live than his victim and already presents a danger while incarcerated for life. They have nothing to lose when the most they can get is Life in prison without parole.

Naviator

Rick - just to clarify A little bit on your post (btw, your knowledge of Canadian politics surpasses that of most Canadians), supreme court justices cannot be tossed by the PM at the snap of his fingers, in fact, because the judicial branch operates independently of the executive branch, it is quite difficult. 

Vikki - you mentioned Brian Allan Smith... I thought it was Ronald Smith on DR in Montana?

AnneTheBelgian

http://www.kxlh.com/news/death-penalty-hot-topic-in-montana-legislature/

Montana 2011 Legislature

Death penalty hot topic in Montana Legislature

Posted: Feb 8, 2011 12:03 PM by Marnee Banks (Helena)

Updated: Feb 8, 2011 12:05 PM

The Montana Legislature took up the issue of the death penalty on Tuesday.

MT State Senator David Wanzenreid (D-Missoula, pictured) is bringing a bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee which would abolish the death penalty.

Wanzenreid says the death penalty has been "failing us" for decades, and that the death penalty allows criminals to become celebrities.

He claimed that it is 4 to 10 times more expensive to execute someone than keep them in prison without parole.

During the committee meeting, several people spoke out on the issue.

Among those arguing for the abolition of the death penalty were a mother whose daughter was murdered; a man who was wrongfully charged with homicide; and a man who conducted executions, who spoke about how much it traumatized him.

Among those arguing against Wanzenreid's bill were MT State Representative Roy Hollandsworth (R-Brady), who said that his father was murdered, and the criminal was given life in prison, which now has Hollandsworth's mother living in fear. MT State Representative Tom Berry (R-Roundup) also addressed the committee, saying that his son was murdered and that he is an advocate for the death penalty

Harris Himes, a pastor from Hamilton, spoke against the bill and said that if Jesus were alive, he would support the death penalty.














Anne
"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

PRO DEATH PENALTY AND PROUD OF IT !!!

JE MAINTIENDRAI (MOTTO OF WILLIAM I THE SILENT, PRINCE OF ORANGE, 1533 - 1584, MOTTO OF THE NETHERLANDS)

DEO JUVANTE (MOTTO OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO)

PROUD TO BE BELGIAN !!! I LOVE MY KINGDOM !!!

JeffcoCitizen

Abolition of death penalty clears MT Senate

Feb 14, 2011
The Montana Senate has approved a bill abolishing the death penalty in the state.

The bill passed with a very narrow margin on a 26 to 24 vote.

MT State Senator Dave Wanzenried (D-Missoula) is carrying the bill because he feels the death penalty is a flawed form of punishment.

His measure, if approved, would replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without parole.

Many legislators cited this as one of the hardest bills they've voted on.

MT State Senator Kendall Van Dyk (D-Billings) said, "For me in this instance my faith asks me the question, 'Could I be the first one, could I cast the first stone?'"

MT State Senator Joe Balyeat (R-Bozeman) said, "It doesn't say 'Thou shalt not kill,' it says 'Thou shall do no murder.' There is a clear distinction between killing another human being, murdering them, and executing a criminal."

The bill must pass a third reading before moving on to the Montana House of Representatives.


Senate Bill 185 text link  http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2011/billhtml/SB0185.htm


http://www.kxlh.com/news/abolition-of-death-penalty-clears-mt-senate/


JTiscool

What is the Governor's stance on the death penalty?
My reason for supporting the death penalty? A murderer has less of a right to live than his victim and already presents a danger while incarcerated for life. They have nothing to lose when the most they can get is Life in prison without parole.

JeffcoCitizen

Not sure on his 'stance'.  LOL

I found the DOC website and there are only 2-people on death row.  So they've either been very busy or just waiting for appeals.
http://www.cor.mt.gov/Facts/deathrow.mcpx

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