Poll: Should Wyoming Abolish The Death Penalty?
The American Civil Liberties Union and other death penalty opponents have launched a campaign to abolish the death penalty in Wyoming.
The latest campaign comes after a bill to do away with Wyoming's death penalty passed the Wyoming House of Representatives in the 2019 Legislative session. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Jared Olsen [R-Laramie County], failed to win approval in the state Senate but still fared far better than similar bills have in recent sessions of the legislature.
Wyoming has only executed one inmate since 1965, Mark Hopkinson. Hopkinson was executed in 1992 for ordering the death of an Evanston attorney from his jail cell. Supporters of abolishing the death penalty say the penalty is seldom used in Wyoming and that it is expensive, in part because the Wyoming Public Defenders office must retain specialized attorneys who are experienced in handling death penalty cases. Some opponents also simply feel that it is wrong for the state to put someone to death.
But opponents of abolishing the death penalty argue that it is a useful tool for prosecutors since the threat of being put to death will often convince guilty defendants to plead guilty in hopes of receiving a life prison sentence rather than death. Many supporters also argue that death is the appropriate punishment for especially heinous crimes.
So what do you think? Should Wyoming abolish the death penalty? We'll publish the results of our online poll on Monday.