Progress on getting rid of the death penalty

State by state, we’re making progress in getting rid of the death penalty.

Yesterday, Connecticut joined Illinois, New Mexico, New Jersey, and New York in becoming the fifth state in recent years to abolish capital punishment. And it became the 17th state, plus the District of Columbia, where the death penalty is now prohibited.

It’s is a development all right-thinking Americans should applaud. Because it means that the United States is finally entering the 20th Century and joining the ranks of civilized nations which, long ago, outlawed the death penalty.

Connecticut rejected the death penalty for the same reasons 16 other states have already done so – and 33 states should do so.

It is never equally or fairly applied. Your chances of getting the death penalty depend more on the skill of your defense lawyer or the make-up of your jury than the crime you committed.

It is directed far more against poor people and people of color than against rich, white folk. The more expensive your lawyer, the less likely you will end up on death row.

And it’s irreversible. Hundreds of innocent people have been killed by the state – and you can never bring them back.

Connecticut has acted. Now if only Congress would ban the death penalty in every state.

That’s my parting shot for today.

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