I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…
Illinois today abolished the death penalty.
That makes 16 states of the United States that are no longer in the business of executing people. I consider that an honor roll, and so name those states: Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The District of Columbia also has rejected the death penalty.
That also makes 34 states that remain in the business of executing people. In Texas particularly, business is good. Since the U.S. Supreme Court re-enabled the death penalty in 1976, Texas has put to death 466 men, women, and children. No wonder then-Governor George Bush had such a pleased smirk on his face when talking about one of the women he was about to execute at the time: those boys are sending souls to God hand over fist.
Six years ago the Supremes struck down the death penalty for juveniles, after presiding over the executions of 22 children of the nation.
In signing his state’s legislation to end state executions, the Illinois governor noted that 13 times the state had wrongly condemned the innocent (it’s actually 20 times, but 13 is bad enough). Said the governor, “It’s not possible to create a perfect, mistake-free death penalty system.”
But it is possible to create a more perfect union of our nation states. Offhand I can think of 34 more ways to form that more perfect union.