Republican Senator Alan Lasee said he plans to form a bill to establish the death penalty in our state. The bill is supposed to be introduced sometime next year.
Even though the details of the bill have not been worked out yet, the question itself brings up serious issues. We talked to a sheriff in our area who has been in the criminal justice system for 37 years.
"If you murder somebody and it's a pre-meditated murder and you're convicted of that," said Portage County Sheriff Stan Potocki, "I believe you should receive the death penalty."
But others would disagree.
"We can have many errors in our courts," said Edward Miller, a University of Stevens Point political science professor. "At least even if you give somebody life in prison, it's reversible."
Governor-elect Jim Doyle is against the death penalty. Even if the bill passes both houses in our state capital, the governor would still have to sign it. The only way lawmakers could override a governor's veto would be to have a two-thirds majority vote in both houses.
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States with No Death Penalty
- District of Columbia
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
Stats on Executions
- 802 Total number of executions since the 1976 reinstatement of capital punishment.
- 9 Number of female defendants that have been executed since 1976.
- 454 Number of white defendants executed.
- 278 Number of black defendants executed.
- 52 Number of Latino defendants executed.
- 13 Number of Native American defendants executed.
- 5 Number of Asian defendants executed.
- 53 Number of executions in 2002.
Most states use lethal injection as the mode of execution, but there are some variations:
- Alabama: Lethal injection or choice of electrocution.
- Arizona: Lethal injection of choice of gas chamber for those sentenced before 11/92
- Arkansas: Lethal injection of choice of electrocution for those sentenced before 3/4/83
- California: Lethal injection
- Colorado: Lethal injection
- Connecticut: Lethal injection
- Delaware: Lethal injection or choice of hanging for those sentenced before 6/13/86
- Florida: Lethal injection of choice of electrocution for those sentenced before 1/14/00
- Georgia: Lethal injection
- Idaho: Lethal injection or firing squad
- Illinois: Lethal injection
- Indiana: Lethal injection
- Kansas: Lethal injection
- Kentucky: Lethal injection or choice of electrocution for those sentenced before 6/1/98
- Louisiana: Lethal injection
- Maryland: Lethal injection of choice of gas chamber for those sentenced before 3/11/94
- Mississippi: Lethal injection
- Missouri: Lethal injection
- Montana: Lethal injection
- Nebraska: Electrocution
- Nevada: Lethal injection
- New Jersey: Lethal injection
- New Mexico: Lethal injection
- New York: Lethal Injection
- North Carolina: Lethal injection
- Ohio: Lethal injection
- Oklahoma: Lethal injection
- Oregon: Lethal injection
- Pennsylvania: Lethal injection
- South Carolina: Lethal injection
- South Dakota: Lethal injection
- Tennessee: Lethal injection of choice of electrocution for those sentenced before 1/1/99
- Texas: Lethal injection
- Utah: Firing squad or lethal injection
- Virginia: Electrocution or lethal injection
- Washington: Hanging or choice of lethal injection
- Wyoming: Lethal injection
- U.S. Government: Lethal injection
- U.S. Military: Lethal injection
Source: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org (The Death Penalty Information Center Web site) contributed to this report.