Colorado becomes 22nd state with no death penalty


FILE – This Oct. 9, 2014, file photo shows the gurney in the the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

DENVER — On Monday Governor Polis signed SB20-100; the bill repeals the death penalty in Colorado for offenses charged on or after July 1, 2020.

Colorado has now been added to the list of states without the death penalty, making it the 22nd in the United States.

Commutations are typically granted to reflect evidence of extraordinary change in the offender. That is not why I am commuting these sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Rather, the commutations of these despicable and guilty individuals are consistent with the abolition of the death penalty in the State of Colorado, and consistent with the recognition that the death penalty cannot be, and never has been, administered equitably in the State of Colorado.

Governor Jared Polis

The last execution in Colorado was in 1997 for the murder Gary Lee Davis.

Polis also commuted the sentences of the three men on death row in Colorado to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

While I understand that some victims agree with my decision and others disagree, I hope this decision provides clarity and certainty for them moving forward. The decision to commute these sentences was made to reflect what is now Colorado law and done after a thorough outreach process to the victims and their families.

Governor Jared Polis

To date, the Governor has granted clemency to eleven individuals, which includes six commutations and five pardons. 

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