Virginia Poised To Become 23rd State To End Death Penalty
Virginia will be the latest state to end executions if a bill lawmakers passed last week is signed into law.
Virginia has executed 114 prisoners since 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center; across its lengthy history, it has executed more prisoners than any other state. (The first execution in what would become the United States was in the Jamestown colony in Virginia in 1608.) Like many other states, it has used the punishment less often in recent years; it hasn’t executed anybody since 2017. Only two people are currently on death row in Virginia.
The bill just passed eliminates the death penalty as a form of punishment. The two people currently on death row will have their sentences converted to life imprisonment. There’s been a bit of legislative friction over whether those two people should ever be eligible for parole: The House version of the bill would not allow it, while the Senate bill opens the possibility. So that will have to be hammered out in conferences.
Whichever version of the bill ends up on Gov. Ralph Northram’s desk, he’s likely to sign it. The Democratic governor has publicly called for the end of the death penalty, telling The New York Times that he wants to “sh
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