Hickenlooper won't seek death penalty repeal this year

While hinting he'd like to push the issue before he leaves office, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) said Tuesday he will not call for a change in Colorado's laws on capital punishment when he delivers his next state of the state address to the legislat

DENVER - While hinting he'd like to push the issue before he leaves office, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) said Tuesday he will not call for a change in Colorado's laws on capital punishment when he delivers his next state of the state address to the legislature.

"No," said Hickenlooper when asked whether he'd press the issue in this year's legislative session, which begins Wednesday. "But we're getting there."

The governor went on to say he might pursue a change in death penalty law "hopefully in the next year or two."

During his first term in office, Hickenlooper came under fire when he revealed that he'd had a change of heart about the death penalty and personally could not allow the execution of a death row inmate to go forward.

He suspended indefinitely the execution of Nathan Dunlap, promising in his reelection campaign to leave it up to the next governor to decide Dunlap's fate.

However, the governor also indicated he would sign a repeal of the death penalty if the legislature passed it, saying repeatedly that the state needs to have a "conversation" on the issue.

The death penalty also became a front-burner issue in 2015 with juries deciding not to impose the state's highest punishment against the Aurora theater shooter and another man convicted of five murders in Denver.

Opinion polls consistently show the death penalty is widely supported by Colorado voters. More than two-thirds of Coloradans said the favored keeping the death penalty in a Quinnipiac poll last Summer.

(© 2015 KUSA)


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