Letters to the Editor

Guv should veto HB 1274 and allow public discourse on death penalty

Dear Editor,

As a former police officer and public servant, I feel compelled to speak out and encourage Governor Ritter to veto House Bill 1274, which would have the effect of doing away with the death penalty in Colorado.

Let’s not play games here. HB 1274 is not really about helping to solve cold case files — analysis suggests the bill would only direct $370,000 a year to these efforts. Rather, this bill is nothing more than a sneaky attempt by opponents of the death penalty to get their way without engaging in a full, honest and fair debate before the people of our state. Those behind this effort ought to come out and state their case and let us all make a decision on its merits, instead of hiding their purpose behind the emotion and hope of those families seeking justice. To these families, our state can do better: the money to assist in your quest for justice can and should be found; your case stands tall on its merits and deserves not to be confused with the larger debate on the death penalty.

Coloradans throughout the state have differing views on the contentious issue of abolishing the death penalty, though at the very least they deserve a full and open debate before a decision is made. As for me, I don’t believe our society has yet found any other way to sufficiently punish the truly heinous acts of a Timothy McVeigh or a Ted Bundy aside from the death penalty.

Regardless, let us first agree that this House bill is simply an attempt to avoid this very debate and to divert attention by purporting to solve cold case files. This end-run around the people of Colorado should be stopped. The governor should not hesitate to veto this measure and force those who support abolishing the death penalty out into the light of day where the people of Colorado can decide the issue — on its merits!

Sincerely,
Scott McInnis
Former Member of Congress
CD 3