Mass. Senate to Debate Republican Death Penalty Amendment Wednesday

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I have announced that members of the Senate Republican Caucus will file an amendment today to reinstate the death penalty in Massachusetts.  The amendment is being offered as part of a mandatory minimum sentencing bill scheduled for debate in the Senate on Wednesday.

“We expect a spirited debate tomorrow on this proposal, which will help to ensure that our courts are able to mete out the proper punishment to those who commit some of the most heinous crimes against society,” said Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr, who will be vocal on this issue during tomorrow’s floor debate.

Our proposal would strengthen the penalties for capital murder convictions by requiring a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.  It would also mandate the use of the death penalty for those convicted of killing a law enforcement official, committing deadly acts of terrorism, and for murders involving torture.

The amendment prohibits the death penalty from being used for minors and defendants who are mentally impaired.

This amendment is identical to legislation that was filed by former Governor Mitt Romney in 2005.  It includes the recommendations of a special commission that called for expanded use of scientific evidence, including DNA samples, and the creation of a new “no doubt” standard for juries to follow before the death penalty can be imposed.

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