Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and seven other Democrats have proposed legislation that would eliminate the possibility of imposing the death penalty for a range of federal offenses, including several categories of murder and crimes against the government like treason and espionage.
The Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act, H.R. 3741, would end the death penalty for assassination or kidnapping that results in the death of the president or vice president, and also ends it for the murder of a member of Congress.
Under the bill, the death penalty could no longer be used to punish people for using a weapon of mass destruction, or murder done via torture, child abuse, war crimes, aircraft hijackings, sexual abuse, bank robberies or the willful wrecking of a train.
Using chemical or biological materials to kill could also no longer result in the death penalty, nor could deaths related to treason or espionage. The death or injury of an unborn child could not result in the death penalty either.
Death of state or local law enforcement officials, using the mail to kill, kidnapping and killing people to stop them from testifying could no longer lead to the death penalty, nor could the use of firearms or armor piercing ammunition during any crime of violence.
Others sponsoring the bill are Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and José Serrano (D-N.Y.).
People already on death row for these crimes would have their sentences commuted.
I wrote about my thoughts on the death penalty before. If only Edwards, Cummings, and the others cared so much about innocent life as they did about those convicted of heinous crimes.
Marjorie Jeffrey wrote a good essay on prudence that relates to this discussion:
Furthermore, in the case of capital punishment, the Church has always left such decisions up to the legitimate temporal authority, although in recent years the Church has urged that resort to the death penalty become rarer. But there is a clear difference here; resort to abortion is never a matter of prudential judgment, since it is intrinsically evil. Resort to the death penalty is always a matter of prudential judgment, since it depends on a number of factors.
Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.
Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.