“Todos los cristianos y hombres de buena voluntad están llamadas hoy a trabajar no sólo por la abolición de la pena de muerte, sino también para mejorar las condiciones de las cárceles, en el respeto de la dignidad humana de las personas privadas de libertad.” - Papa Francisco
From 1859 to 1967, the state of Colorado killed 101 people via capital punishment. Hanging was the sole method of execution until replaced by the gas chamber in 1934. Today, lethal injection is the sole method of execution.
Colorado’s use of the death penalty since reinstatement in 1975 has been sparse. Gary Davis was the first and only person executed since that time, in 1997. There are currently three people on death row. In 2009, a vote to redirect the funds for capital punishment failed to pass by only one vote in the House.
On May 22, 2013, then-Governor John Hickenlooper granted an indefinite stay of execution for Nathan Dunlap, who was scheduled to be executed that summer. Governor Hickenlooper's decision was based around the fact that Colorado's death penalty system was riddled with flaws and until the system operated "flawlessly" there would be no executions carried out. This decision effectively created a governor-imposed moratorium in Colorado. The Centennial State is one of four states with governor-imposed moratoriums, the others being California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
In 2019, A death penalty abolition bill almost passed in Colorado's Senate, but was ultimately never brought to a floor vote.
The following year saw renewed efforts to abolish the death penalty and in February 2020, the Colorado state legislature passed a bill to repeal the death penalty. On March 23 2020, the bill was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis making Colorado the 22nd state to repeal the death penalty.
For more information and ways to get involved, contact your state's organizations:
The Colorado Catholic Conference, a united voice of the three Catholic dioceses, speaks on public policy issues. Basing its mission on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as particularly expressed in Catholic social teaching and the consistent life ethic, the Conference acts cooperatively in order to insure a dignified and productive life for people of all ages and ethnic groups.
Coloradans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (CADP), formerly Coloradans Against the Death Penalty, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making our justice system more effective by establishing smart alternatives that abolish capital punishment. We are concerned citizens, religious leaders, political leaders, criminal defense lawyers and relatives of murder victims.