State Rep. Richard Smith (R-108), will help make history today by voting in favor of a bill that repeals the death penalty prospectively.
Rep. Smith will vote in favor of SB 280 – An Act Revising the Penalty for Capital Felonies. The bill replaces the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of release and renames the crime of capital felony as “murder with special circumstances.”
Rep. Smith will vote for repeal based on moral and religious grounds, in addition to evidence that points to capital punishment being a poor public policy.
“Religiously and morally I firmly oppose the State’s ability to take human life under any circumstances. The crimes that these criminals have committed are undoubtedly abhorrent, heinous and appalling, but I genuinely believe that it is fundamentally wrong for the government of this State to exterminate a human being.” Rep. Smith said.
“I am pleased that the conditions these felons will live under are fitting for the crimes they have committed, as they will be segregated under high security status without any social contact whatsoever. The most effective punishment in my opinion is for these criminals to indefinitely sit in their cell and think about what they did, and answer to their maker.”
Rep. Smith added “It’s too difficult to distinguish one heinous crime from the next, rendering the sentencing of a criminal too arbitrary and subjective when deciding between capital punishment and life imprisonment. Capital punishment is not a practical deterrent for crime and too many individuals put on death row have been exonerated due to DNA evidence.”