The ACLU of Wyoming along with a diverse partnership of legislators, individuals, faith-based organizations, civil liberties groups and good government advocates are supporting a proposal in the 2019 Wyoming Legislature to repeal the death penalty.
House Bill 145 was filed Monday, Jan. 14, with 13 co-sponsors in the House and five in the Senate – and has the support of leadership in both chambers. It has passed the first committee vote and will soon be heard on the floor of the House.
Individuals and organizations across Wyoming support the repeal of the death penalty for a variety of reasons. We are inviting you to add your name to that list today. After signing, please share on social media and tag the ACLU of Wyoming. Together we will expand the support for the death penalty repeal in our state.
Our opposition to the death penalty incorporates the following fundamental concerns:
The risk of wrongful convictions: Any system run by human beings is fallible. Across the country people have been wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death because of faulty forensics, incorrect witness identification and false confessions. There is no way to have a mistake-proof death penalty – and it is a mistake that cannot be undone. Read about the risk of wrongful convictions here and here.
The harm to families and communities: The death penalty process adds additional harm to victim family members. It could take decades to examine cases, many of which are overturned. Family members are subject to years of media attention with no end in sight. Additionally, the public defenders office in Wyoming has testified that the toll on everyone involved in a death penalty case, from public defenders to jurors to even prosecutors, is immense. The psychological and emotional burden of the death penalty does not need to be continued in Wyoming. Read more about the harm to victim families and communities here and here.
The financial burden: The state of Wyoming spends almost a million dollars a year on just the cost of providing defense for death cases. This does not take into account the extra costs incurred by prosecutors and the court system to handle complex capital cases. This is money that would otherwise be spent on mental health services, hospitals, crime prevention initiatives, schools – anything other than a penalty which is costly and ineffective. Read more about the high cost of the death penalty here and here.