Attempt to abolish death penalty to resurface in legislative session

WWL Newsroom
February 11, 2020 - 7:27 am

Marrero Democrat Kyle Green has filed a House bill to end the death penalty in Louisiana. The proposed legislation says death row inmates would be resentenced to a life sentence without parole. Previous efforts have failed, but Green believes there are more GOP lawmakers interested in abolishing the death penalty because it would save the state money.

"We’re talking about over the next 18 years potentially saving almost $300 million to do away with an institution."

Louisiana has not executed an inmate since 2010, with the inability to obtain drugs for a lethal injection being cited as the reason for the gap.  Traditionally, Republicans lean in favor of preserving the death penalty, but Green believes executions do not fall in line with the state’s values.

“We believe in the sanctity of life and I firmly believe that we should hold those values and make it applicable across the board, including to those individuals who are found on death row,” said Green.

Over the about the last 40 years, Green says around 150 people have been exonerated from death row, with eleven of them from Louisiana.

This past weekend, a jury handed down a death sentence to Kyle Joekel, a man found guilty last Friday of killing two St. John the Baptist Parish deputies in 2012.

Green says, unfortunately, a death sentence does not deter these types of killings.

“Part of the argument has been that having the death penalty would serve as a deterrent.  If that were the case, we wouldn’t have had this tragedy in the first place, but I empathize with those individuals,” said Green.

Last year, a bill to abolish the death penalty was struck down on the House floor. District attorneys have historically been opposed to repealing the death penalty.

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