On March 23, 2020, a huge victory was won by Colorado Criminal Defense Attorneys and Civil Rights Advocates. On that day, legislation was signed formally repealing Colorado’s Capital Punishment Statute, ending the death penalty here in Colorado. In light of this change in the law, Governor Polis commuted the sentence of three death-row inmates to life sentences, without the possibility of parole.
Colorado had not executed an inmate since October of 1997, when Gary Davis was executed by lethal injection. Thanks to the Colorado Legislature repealing the death penalty, Mr. Davis will be the last person put to death by the State in such a gruesome fashion or in any fashion.
Colorado’s repeal of the death penalty is emblematic of a growing effort, especially in Western States, to end this draconian practice and reaffirm the rights of inmates. To date, twenty-three states have ended the death penalty, and more are sure to come. Public opinion seems to be swaying on this issue as well, as a recent Gallup pole found support for the death penalty to be at its lowest level in over half a century.
With the minds of legislatures and the public turning against this macabre practice, we are hopeful that the death penalty will be repealed across the nation within the coming years.