Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Death Penalty Sentence Unconstitutional

A death sentence against an inmate who killed a prison employee is not valid because a jury didn't decide his fate, the Colorado Supreme Court has ruled.

The state's high court did, however, uphold the first-degree murder conviction of Edward Montour Jr. for the October 2002 bludgeoning death of Eric Autobee, a 23-year-old kitchen supervisor at the Limon Correctional Facility.

Montour pleaded guilty to the death of Autobee, and in doing so "automatically waived his right to have a jury determine his sentence" under the state's death penalty statute, the Supreme Court said in a ruling posted Monday.

"We hold that the statute unconstitutionally links the waiver of a defendant's jury-sentencing right to his guilty plea," the opinion states.

"Colorado law was found by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional," said attorney David Lane, who was a member of a team that represented Montour. "If you enter a plea of guilty, as Montour did, you waive the right to have a jury find your fate, and that is unconstitutional

Denver Post

Talk Left points us to a study that was done that shows that lethal injection may not be the painless death we have been led to believe that it was. The commentary following the post is especially good.

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