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Death penalty will be up for debate in Iowa legislature

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DES MOINES – Iowa Republicans plan to debate in this legislative session a bill that would revive the death penalty in Iowa.

Senate File 335 was introduced last legislative session by Republican lawmakers Behn, Zaun, Chapman, Garrett, Children, and Guth. They introduced the bill for an act creating the penalty of death for the commission of the multiple offense of murder in the first degree, kidnapping, and sexual abuse against the same minor.

The bill did not get passed last year, and the Iowa ACLU applauded that fact, saying that “during one of the most regressive legislative sessions in memory, it is important to count the victories — even when the victories are simply preventing Iowa from going back a half century.”

State capitol

This year, the bill will be put up for debate again by Republicans.  The bill doesn’t seem to have great prospects, but, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has mentioned that she supports capitol punishment  in “limited circumstances.”

Iowa had a death penalty until 1968. The ACLU claimed “Capital punishment was brutal, expensive, and did nothing to prevent violent tragedies. There is also a great risk of sentencing innocent people to death. Since 1973, 140 people on death row have been exonerated in the U.S. Those most likely to be wrongly convicted tended to be disproportionately people of color, low-income, or with a mental disability.”

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