Stop the Killing Before It Starts

Don't let the death penalty be reinstated in Iowa or D.C.


by Jeremy Price

Capital punishment may be coming back to Iowa - unless we stop it.

On February 3rd, a House subcommittee began work on a death penalty
bill. Legislators expect a vote in the House before February 14th.

Last year, similar legislation was defeated in the Senate. But this
time, pro-death penalty forces are better organized, and their strategy
is more cunning, too.

This bill would allow death by lethal injection only in cases involving
class-A felonies, such as rape and murder, or murder by an inmate already
serving a life sentence.

The Republican majority hopes this limited bill is one that some liberals
can swallow. Of course, for right-wingers like Governor Branstad, it is only
a foot in the door.

But anti-death penalty activists are putting up a fight, including protests
on the capital steps on February 3rd and 4th.The party of Bill Clinton cannot
be trusted to fend off pro-death penalty bigots just like him. We have to do
it ourselves!

Stop the Death Penalty from coming to Iowa. Thursday, February 12,
Buchanan Auditorium, Pappajohn Building, University of Iowa. Call 319-358-6864
for information.

Washington, D.C.

by Allison Breault

A bill sponsored by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) would return the
death penalty to the District of Columbia (D.C.) despite its rejection by both
public referendum and the D.C. City Council.

The bill would make the murder of a law enforcement official in the D.C. a
federal capital offense thus subject to federal sentencing guidelines and
punishable by a death sentence.

When a similar measure was considered by the D.C. City Council, it was
rejected without a single vote cast in its favor. At public hearings held on
the issue by the council, speakers against the death penalty outnumbered
speakers in favor by four to one.

The issue was also put to a vote in a 1992 referendum, in which a proposal
to reinstate the death penalty was rejected by a more than 2 to 1 margin.

Such a law would not only be undemocratic, but wrong. Death penalty laws
specifically imposed for the murder of law enforcement officials have no more
deterrence value than the death penalty as a whole. According to The National
Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial Fund, Senator Hutchison's home state of
Texas has consistently posted a police officer murder rate in the top five of
the fifty states. Texas has also seen its murder rate increase at the same time
as it is executing as many as two people a week.

The only way to stop this attempt to impose the death penalty on D.C. is to
build a vocal movement opposing the death penalty in D.C. and let the politicians
know we plan to stop the killing before it starts.

For more information and to get involved, contact the D.C. Campaign to End
the Death Penalty at (202) 965-1417 or (301) 587-1469.