Rep. Rhonda Fields on push to repeal death penalty: "An insult to crime victims"

Even if a bill to repeal were not retroactive -- which means it would not affect the fate of the suspects in her son's case -- Fields says she is still worried that a removal of the death penalty would open the door to efforts that could impact those currently on death row.

maisha fields.jpeg
Sam Levin
Maisha Fields, daughter of Rhonda Fields, after speaking with survivors of the Aurora theater shooting.
"Though the bill won't address [past crimes]...it doesn't say that it can't ever happen," she notes.

"I have made my position clear. It's not a secret," Fields adds. "Prior to being elected, I have gone down to the State Capitol with many other crime victims, sharing testimony on why we would like to see the death penalty stay on the books."

It can be tough at times to disagree with her colleagues on this, she says, but adds, "I'm a woman of principles and values. I'm gonna stand on that despite my party affiliation."

And she is worried that the measure may be more likely to pass this time. "It sounds like...several lawmakers feel like the time is now to move...because they think they have the margins to pass it," she notes.

She continues, "It just seems like every other day, we are hearing about someone taking a gun and harming other people, just snatching their lives suddenly and we are left to pick up the pieces. It doesn't seem like the right public safety measure to be taking now."

Those who support a repeal of the death penalty, like Levy, point out that it likely wouldn't apply to the perpetrators of recent horrific tragedies in Colorado; lawyers for James Holmes, the Aurora shooter, will push for an insanity defense and Austin Reed Sigg, who allegedly kidnapped and killed ten-year-old Jessica Ridgeway, is seventeen and too young to face the death penalty.

"She's absolutely right," Fields says of Levy's argument. "I think that the death penalty shouldn't be applied broadly. I think we should have strict standards...of laws that would qualify a case for the death penalty. If you are mentally ill, you are not eligible."

She adds, "That's what makes the death penalty an option that's not used that often."

The other argument in favor of a repeal is that the death penalty is expensive -- and that the money funneled into related litigation could be put to better use. "My view on that, is what cost do you put on justice?" Fields says. "I sat through the trials for two of them and they murdered my son. What price do you put on that? You can't put a price on that."

More from our Politics archive: "Straightforward Shooting sees huge surge of interest in gun classes after Connecticut tragedy"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.

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16 comments
rjshep45
rjshep45

do away with the death penalty,or change the law so executions within one year of conviction,all the current death penalty is now is a taxpayer funded welfare system for already wealthy attorneys,

dudleycsharp
dudleycsharp

The death penalty is JUSTICE

6) Billy Graham: "God will not tolerate sin. He condemns it and demands payment for it. God could not remain a righteous God and compromise with sin. His holiness and His justice demand the death penalty." ( "The Power of the Cross," published in the Apr. 2007 issue of Decision magazine ).

7) Jean-Jacques Rousseau: "In killing the criminal, we destroy not so much a citizen as an enemy. The trial and judgments are proofs that he has broken the Social Contract, and so is no longer a member of the State." (The Social Contract).

8) Saint (& Pope) Pius V: "The just use of (executions), far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this (Fifth) Commandment which prohibits murder." "The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent" (1566).

dudleycsharp
dudleycsharp

contd

The death penalty is JUSTICE

4) John Murray: "Nothing shows the moral bankruptcy of a people or of a generation more than disregard for the sanctity of human life." "... it is this same atrophy of moral fiber that appears in the plea for the abolition of the death penalty." "It is the sanctity of life that validates the death penalty for the crime of murder. It is the sense of this sanctity that constrains the demand for the infliction of this penalty. The deeper our regard for life the firmer will be our hold upon the penal sanction which the violation of that sanctity merit." (Page 122 of Principles of Conduct).

5) John Locke: "A criminal who, having renounced reason... hath, by the unjust violence and slaughter he hath committed upon one, declared war against all mankind, and therefore may be destroyed as a lion or tyger, one of those wild savage beasts with whom men can have no society nor security." And upon this is grounded the great law of Nature, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." Second Treatise of Civil Government.

dudleycsharp
dudleycsharp

The death penalty is JUSTICE

1) Immanuel Kant: "If an offender has committed murder, he must die. In this case, no possible substitute can satisfy justice. For there is no parallel between death and even the most miserable life, so that there is no equality of crime and retribution unless the perpetrator is judicially put to death.". "A society that is not willing to demand a life of somebody who has taken somebody else's life is simply immoral."

2) Pope Pius XII; "When it is a question of the execution of a man condemned to death it is then reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned of the benefit of life, in expiation of his fault, when already, by his fault, he has dispossessed himself of the right to live." 9/14/52.

3) Theodore Roosevelt: " . . . among the very rare occasions when anything governmental or official caused me to lose sleep were times when I had to listen to some poor mother making a plea for a criminal so wicked, so utterly brutal and depraved, that it would have been a crime on my part to remit his punishment.".

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

This most certainly will further endear her to our state's african american population ......

Why doesn't she go as far as referring to the three on Colorado's death-row, as those dead 'niggas' and forget ALL responsible for her position as a Dem Rep !

Her personal loss is outweighing her party commitment . I get it but will most ????

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

How many people would Jesus execute?

HMPWJE?

Rhonda Fields = an Insult to Christianity

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@dudleycsharp 

So how does ENDING the mortal suffering of the condemned, and sending them to an eternal heavenly afterlife -- if they simply confess their sins and accept Jayzus at anytime prior to their execution -- "penalize" them?

Be specific, and show your work.


Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@DonkeyHotay  

'Jesus' was a supposed BAD-ASS ! Can't really tell from ALL the pictures that have him looking like 'Howard Wallowitz' from 'The Big Bang Theory', or as I like to call it, The Penny Show' ! You'd think the 'son of god' would AT LEAST, look like 'Arnold' & not a timid gay man, working the register at a  Capitol Hill bookstore .....

Meanwhile, his 'dad' REMAINS, violent as hell !!!

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@DonkeyHotay  

How many would Santa execute for that matter ?......

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Juan_Leg 

Jesus "looks" like a Gay fantasy milquetoast because the Vatican hired the Flaming Homosexual Pederast Michelangelo to fabricate his likeness.

Imagine what Jesus would look like if they had employed a Bear Loving Harvey Fierstein for the job?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Juan_Leg 

Santa KKKlaus? ... the enslaver and exploiter of the Elven race?


Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@DonkeyHotay or Seth McFarland ... We could really keep going ......

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