A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Massachusetts legislators reject death penalty reinstatement bill

[JURIST] Massachusetts legislators Tuesday rejected a bill 100-53 which proposed the reinstatement of the death penalty. Massachusetts has not used capital punishment since 1947. The bill was proposed in April [JURIST report; press release] by Republican Governor Mitt Romney [official website] who is considering running for president in 2008. Romney has asserted that the bill contained "foolproof" provisions [JURIST report] to prevent innocent people being executed as the death penalty would only be given in first-degree murder cases which relied on "conclusive scientific evidence" such as DNA or fingerprints. However, this was rejected by former state prosecutor and now state representative Democrat Rep. David Linksy [official website] who said that there would be "no guarantee under this bill, or under any other death penalty bill, that we wouldn't execute an innocent person." Massachusetts is one of only 12 US states without the death penalty. In 1997, a push to reimpose the death penalty in Massachusetts also failed, but only by a single vote, suggesting that there is now greater opposition to such a measure. Reuters has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.