December 30, 2004


Mass. Governor to File Death Penalty Bill (STEVE LeBLANC, December 29, 2004, Associated Press)

Hoping to bring capital punishment to Massachusetts, Gov. Mitt Romney is preparing to file a death penalty bill early next year that he says is so carefully written it will guarantee only the guilty are executed.

Based in part on the findings of a death penalty panel he appointed, the bill would limit capital punishment to the "worst of the worst" crimes including terrorism, the murder of police officers, murder involving torture and the killing of witnesses. It also would use evidence such as DNA testing to protect the innocent.

Romney wants his death penalty bill to be a model for other states.

"The weakness in the death penalty statutes in other states, of course, is the fear that you may execute someone who is innocent. We remove that possibility," Romney said.

Massachusetts is one of a dozen states without capital punishment. The bill fulfills one of the Republican governor's key campaign pledges, but faces a skeptical Democrat-controlled state Legislature.

Taking 70-30 social issues to the voters helps the GOP in MA and Mr. Romney in the '08 primary.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 30, 2004 9:00 AM

He's got to do something, otherwise he's just another pretty face.

Posted by: Sandy P at December 30, 2004 12:00 PM

After eight years of Bush, about the only thing that could drive national Democrats crazier would be for a Massachusetts Republican to win the presidency in 2008.

Posted by: John at December 30, 2004 3:22 PM

The Federal judiciary has made such a mess out of the death penalty that any state law to pass it is completely worthless.

Give me a call when we reduce the system to one appeal and no additional stays, and when we start offing about 15,000 criminals a year, roughly the same proportion as Singapore.

Posted by: Bart at December 30, 2004 4:18 PM
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