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6FED13211AA5C718872584FC007151C0 Hearing Summary




PUBLIC
BILL SUMMARY For SB20-100

SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
Date Jan 27, 2020      
Location SCR 357



SB20-100 - Referred to the Committee of the Whole

01:37:46 PM  

Senator Lee made opening remarks and discussed procedures and etiquette.

Senators Gonzales and Tate, co-prime sponsors, explained SB20-100, which repeals the death penalty in Colorado for offenses charged on or after July 1, 2020, and makes conforming amendments.  Senator Gonzales explained the differences between this bill and a similar one that was introduced last year.  Senator Tate made introductory remarks and reasons for sponsoring the bill.

01:45:09 PM  

Beth McCann, Denver District Attorney, testified in support of the measure.  She provided a prosecutorial perspective and cited concerns about the uniform application of the death penalty.  She also explained why she is against using the death penalty as a plea bargaining chip. 

 

 

01:54:48 PM  

Sharletta Evans, representing herself, testfied in favor of the bill.  She recounted the murder of her three-year-old son.  She stressed the power of forgiveness and supported prevention programs.

02:02:19 PM  

Tim Ricard, representing himself, testified in support of the measure.  He recounted the murder of his wife and relayed that prosecutors pursued the death penalty despite his objections.  He stressed the importance of prevention programs and services.   

 

 

02:08:21 PM  

The committee asked questions of the panel about deciding this issue by popular vote.  Discussion followed about the pros and cons of setting penalties by popular vote.  Further discussion ensued about using the death penalty as a plea bargaining tool. 

02:25:44 PM  

Dave Young, District Attorney for the 17th Judicial District, spoke in opposition to the bill.  He explained that the death penalty is a necessary tool and its repeal should be decided by voters.

George Brauchler, District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District, testified against the bill.  He cited reasons for supporting the death penatly.  He stressed there have been no exonerations in Colorado.   

02:40:51 PM  

Dan May, District Attorney for the 4th Judicial District, testified in opposition to the bill.  He expressed reasons for supporting the death penalty, including deterrence, cost, and safety.  He also supported putting this issue to the vote of the people. 

02:46:40 PM  

Cliff Reidel, District Attorney for the 8th Judicial District, spoke in opposition to the measure.  He cited reasons for keeping it and recounted a Ft. Collins case where it was used in a plea bargain. 

Committee discussion followed about using the death penalty as a plea bargaining tool, the role of the public in meting out punishment, innocent people on death row, aggravating circumstances, and costs. 

03:06:21 PM  

Further committee discussion ensued about the death penalty as a disincentive and its relationship to the prolife argument. 

03:11:04 PM  

Maisha Fields, representing herself, testified against the meaure.  She discussed her brother's murder and stated her support of the death penalty from a victim perspective.  She further brought up points about cold cases and honoring victims' choices. 

Committee discussion followed about the application of the death penalty and race and ordering hits while in prison.  

Ann Tomsic, Chief Deputy District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District, testified in opposition to the bill.  She discussed her reasons for supporting the death penalty and suggested keeping it for certain cases instead of repealing it all together. 

 

03:37:29 PM  

Gail Rice, representing herself, spoke in support fof the bill.  She discussed the murder of her brother and restorative justice.

03:42:59 PM  

Ezra Aldern,representing himself, testified in support of the bill.  He discussed his mother's murder and forgiveness and redemption. 

Arlis Keller, representing herself, testified in favor of the measure.  She discussed the murder of her brother and reasons for opposing the death penalty. 

03:50:31 PM  

Victoria Baker Wilford, representing herself, spoke in favor of the bill.  She discussed her mother's murder and cold cases. 

Amy Plapp, representing herself, testified in support of the bill.  She discussed her brother's murder and her family's decision not to support the death penalty.

David Works, representing himself, testified in favor of the measure. He discussed his daughter's murder and the need for mercy. 

 

04:04:38 PM  

Lieutenant Hollis, representing himself, testified in favor of the bill.  He discussed the high costs of pursuing the death penalty and wrongful convictions.

Sean Gruno, representing himself, testified in support of the measure.  He discussed his aunt's murder and his involvement on the Cold Case Task Force. 

 

04:17:58 PM  

Jim Gumm, representing himself, testified against the bill. He discussed his son's murder in the line of duty and suggested that this issue be presented to voters. 

04:20:52 PM  

Dr. Mary McNeil-Jones, representing herself, testified in favor of the bill.  She discussed her husband's murder and relayed that the perpetrator died in prison, which did not bring closure.

Linda Burks-Brown, representing herself, spoke in support of the bill.  She discussed her sister's homicide and her daughter's wrongful conviction for a different crime.  She discussed the imperfection of the criminal justice system. 

04:27:33 PM  

Minnie Cassell, representing herself, testified in support of the measure.  She discussed the murder of her daughter and how she did not want to pursue the death penalty.  

Johnny Ross, representing himself, spoke in favor of the bill.  He explained and answered questions about his experiences on death row and subsequent exoneration.

04:39:54 PM  

Sister Marion Weinzapfel, representing Cure d'Ars Catholic Church, testified in support of the bill.  She discussed her faith and the Catholic Church's position on the death penalty.  

Bishop Jorge Rodriguez, representing himself, testified in favor of the measure.  He shared a faith-based explanation for his opposition to the death penalty.

Christine Chao, representing Cure d'Ars Catholic Church, testified in support of the bill.  She questioned the efficacy of the death penalty. 

 

 

04:54:55 PM  

Mary Ellen Buning, representing St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church, testified in support of  the bill. She discussed restorative justice. 

05:02:10 PM  

Nora Jaquez, representing St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church, testified in support of the bill.

05:04:14 PM  

Barry Porter, representing St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church, testified in support of the bill.

05:06:32 PM  

Roger Butts, representing All Souls Church, testified in support of the bill.

Roland Halpern, representing the Colorado Council of Churches, testified in support of the bill.

Lisa Van Bramer, representing herself, spoke in support of the bill.

Alma Garno, representing herself, testified in favor of the bill.

05:23:28 PM  

Karen Steinhauser, representing herself as an attorney and former district attorney, spoke in support of the bill. She discussed retribution, an imperfect criminal justice system, and the effect on jurors in death penalty cases. 

05:33:37 PM  

Christian Gardner Wood, representing the Boulder County District Attorney Office, spoke in support of the bill. He discussed the importance of consistent application of the laws, deterrence, and plea bargaining. 

05:38:35 PM  

Jake Lily, representing himself, testified in support of the bill.  He discussed his experience as a former prosecutor with death penalty cases and evolving standards of justice. 

05:48:58 PM  

Dan Pacholke, representing himself, spoke in favor of the bill.  As a former correctional officer,he testified about his experience being assigned to an execution and the hardship on staff.  

Dean Sanderford, representing himself, testified in support of the bill.  As a federal public defender, he discussed witnessing an execution and the difficulties of using lethal injection. 

05:59:32 PM  

David Lane, representing himself, testified in favor of the measure.  He discussed a case in Ft. Collins where a man was wrongfully convicted and subsequently exonerated of murder.  He also noted the costs involved during the penalty phase of a dealth penalty case and stressed that every defendant should have a right to a jury. 

Lindy Frolich, representing the Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel, testified in support of the bill. She compared the costs of death penalty cases to first degree murder ones.  She also noted the time consuming jury selection process.  

06:18:31 PM  

Hollis Whitson, representing herself, testified in favor of the measure.  She discussed cost, time frames in death penalty cases, and appeals.

06:30:59 PM  

Sam Kamin, representing himself, testified in support of the bill.  He discussed the study he conducted as a professor at University of Denver Sturm College of Law, which looked at every murder conviction in the state. 

06:38:14 PM  

Hannah Cox, representing Conservatives Concerned about Death Penalty, testified in support of the bill.  She provided statistics about the application of the death penalty.  

Scott Phillips, representing himself, spoke in support of the measure.  He discussed an article he worked on at the University of Denver regarding the death penalty.  He brought up points about race, deterrence, wrongful conviction, and disparate application of the death penatly.  Committee discussion followed about the article. 

06:50:33 PM  

Moe Keller, representing Mental Health Colorado, testified in support of the measure.  She distributed a handout about the death penalty (Attachment A). 

Alex Perez, representing Denver Homeless Outloud, testified in favor of the bill.  

Thomas Perille, representing Democrats for Life, spoke in support of the measure.  He distributed a copy of his testimony (Attachment B). 

06:59:47 PM  

Nicole King, representing herself, testified in favor of the bill.  She discussed the impact on jurors.

Jean Fredlund, representing the League of Women Voters, testified in favor of the measure. 

Barb Parnell, representing herself, testified in support of the bill.

07:12:23 PM  

Senator Lee and Senator Gonzales submited written testimony for the record (Attachment C). 

07:14:25 PM  

Senator Gardner introduced Amendment L. 001, which would allow the death penalty to go before a vote of the people (Attachment D).

Committee members made final comments about the bill and amendment.   

Senators Gonzales and Tate made closing remarks. 



07:18:27 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.001 (Attachment D)
Moved Gardner
Seconded
Cooke Yes
Gardner Yes
Rodriguez No
Gonzales No
Lee No
YES: 2   NO: 3   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  FAIL


07:27:49 PM
Motion Refer Senate Bill 20-100 to the Committee of the Whole.
Moved Gonzales
Seconded
Cooke No
Gardner No
Rodriguez Yes
Gonzales Yes
Lee Yes
Final YES: 3   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS






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