Bill To Repeal Death Penalty Filed In Wyoming Legislature
A bill that would repeal Wyoming's death penalty has been filed in the 2021 session of the Wyoming Legislature.
You can read Senate File 150 here.
It's being sponsored by Senator(s) Boner, Baldwin, Kost, Landen, Pappas, Rothfuss, and Schuler and Representative(s) Barlow, Burkhart, Connolly, Nicholas, Olsen, Western, and Wilson.
A bill to repeal the death penalty in the 2020 session of the legislature received majority support for introduction by a 37-23 margin in the state House. But even though it got a majority voting in favor, that margin fell three votes short of the 2/3 majority needed for the introduction of a non-budget bill during a budget session.
But because the 2021 session of the legislature is a general session, it will need only a simple majority vote to be introduced.
Wyoming has only executed one person since 1965. Mark Hopkinson was put to death in 1992 for ordering the murder of Jeff Green of Mountain View.
Green was scheduled to testify against Hopkinson for ordering the bombing of the home of Evanston attorney Vincent Vehar of Evanston. Vehar, his wife, and their son were killed in that bombing.
Death penalty opponents argue that it is almost never used in Wyoming and say that simply having the law on the books costs the state money since the public defender's office has to pay to retain an attorney with experience in death penalty cases.
Some death penalty opponents also argue that the state putting someone to death is immoral and amounts to murder.
But supporters of the death penalty say it's the only appropriate penalty for some, especially heinous, crimes. They also say that the threat of the death penalty is a useful tool for prosecutors to get defendants to plead guilty a part of a plea agreement and/or to give up information, such as where bodies of victims may be located.
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