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Bill seeks to reinstate death penalty in Iowa
Quad-City Times ^ | 02/07/12 | Rod Boshart

Posted on 02/08/2012 5:51:13 PM PST by Category Four

DES MOINES — The leader of the Senate Republicans is pushing to reinstate a limited death penalty in Iowa for any adult who kills a minor in the commission of a rape or kidnapping.

But Democrats say it’s a political ploy to interject a distracting social issue during a session focused on job creation and reforming the state’s property tax, education and mental-health systems.

Senate GOP Leader Jerry Behn of Boone introduced the death-penalty measure this session as he has done in previous years. He says it is a way to deter perpetrators of Class A felonies in Iowa from killing their minor victims, who may later identify them or testify against them if they are arrested and prosecuted for crimes that currently carry maximum penalties of life in prison without parole.

“In essence, it is an incentive in Iowa right now to murder your victim so there are no witnesses,” Behn said. “This adds a level to that to provide a disincentive.”

Senate File 2095 would establish a two-tiered judicial process for criminals charged with kidnapping or raping a victim under the age of 18 and then killing the minor, and who are later convicted of at least two Class A offenses currently punishable by life prison terms. A separate court proceeding would be held to determine whether the perpetrator would be executed using lethal injection.

The bill provides for an automatic review of any death-penalty sentence by the Iowa Supreme Court. To be eligible for capital punishment, a convicted defendant would have to be at least 18 years at the time the offenses were committed, must not be mentally ill or mentally retarded and would have to “have been a major participant in the commission of the crime or must have shown a manifest indifference to human life,” according to the proposed legislation.

Sen. Eugene Fraise, D-Fort Madison, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he already has decided the bill will not be considered in committee this session.

“We won’t take it up,” he said. “This issue’s been around for a long time. It’s been turned down.”

Fraise noted that Republicans controlled both chambers of the General Assembly during Gov. Terry Branstad’s fourth term and did not debate the capital punishment issue.

“It seems to me like it’s a political gimmick to say (Democrats) wouldn’t bring up the death penalty,” he said. “They’ve had their chances over the years to do it, but I won’t support it. We’ve always said that we sentence people to death in the institutions. They spend the rest of their life there until they die there. To me, it’s a far harsher sentence than just the death penalty. They have to think about what they did forever, so that to me is a far harsher penalty than the death penalty.”

Branstad said he supports a limited death penalty in circumstances involving multiple Class A felonies as a deterrent for someone already facing a life prison sentence “from killing more people, figuring that improves their chance of getting away with it, or killing the rape or kidnap victim.”

The governor said he chose not to include a death-penalty proposal in his 2012 legislative package because “I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere in the Senate. I want to focus on things that we can get done.”

Capital punishment ended in Iowa in February 1965. The last person put to death under Iowa’s former capital-punishment statute was Victor Feguer, who was executed in March 1963 for killing a Dubuque doctor.

Submitted for perusal and discussion ... personally, I'm for it.
1 posted on 02/08/2012 5:51:16 PM PST by Category Four
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To: Category Four

Fortunately Gene Fraise is retiring and will not be up for reelection in 2012. I am running the campaign of the Republican who’s running for his seat. There are 3 Democrats and one Independent running as well.

I doubt it will happen this year. We simply need 2 more seats in the state Senate to get this and alot of other laws passed, so hopefully next year will be a different story.

2 posted on 02/08/2012 7:34:20 PM PST by Free Vulcan (Election 2012 - America stands or falls. No more excuses. Get involved.)
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To: Category Four

Not going to happen. Too many Robert Ray/Doug Gross RINOs still in the Iowa legislature. Republicans have had majorities before in the Iowa legislature, and never even came close to being considered in the past.

I remember in 1993 a convenience store clerk in Waterloo was killed in a gang initiation. The piece of human crap made the clerk get down on his knees, and the gang member shot him point blank in the back of the head. The clerk’s father went to the Iowa legislature to get the death penalty reinstated, and the things supposed “Republican” legislators told him about why this animal should not be put to death were abhorent.

3 posted on 02/09/2012 1:10:26 PM PST by hawkeye101 (Electing lawyers to political office is like hiring a raging alcoholic to run your bar!)
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