Legislative Activity - Colorado

  • Colorado House Committee Advances Bill to Abolish Capital Punishment The House Judiciary Committee recently voted to abolish the state's death penalty, replacing it with a sentence of life-without-parole, and use the money currently spent on capital punishment to help solve 1,200 cold-case homicides in the state. The 7-4 vote followed four hours of testimony from murder victims' family members, state law enforcement officials, and death penalty experts, including DPIC Executive Director Richard Dieter. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Paul Weissmann (pictured), noted that during the past three decades, the state has spent an estimated $40 million on the death penalty, has carried out one execution, and has two people on death row. "We in this state spend a lot of money on a death penalty that's rarely used. [This bill would give] families an opportunity to have their cases solved," Weissmann noted. The bill now moves to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration. (Rocky Mountain News, February 8, 2007). Read Richard Dieter's testimony.
  • On March 19, 2001 the Judiciary Committee voted against a bill introduced by Sens. Ken Chlouber and Rob Hernandez that would have thrown out the current 3-judge system in death penalty cases and place the sentencing decision in the hands of the trial judge. The bill (SB 207) required at least 10 of the 12 jurors who hear the case to make a sentencing recommendation that the judge would consider before making the final decision.