Action Alert: Congress Considering New Death Penalty Offenses

More Urgent Action needed to oppose H.R. 10-- Please Act Now!

Congress Considering Federal Death Penalty Expansion
Conference Committee Decision Imminent -- Act Now!

Congress is currently considering legislation that would expand the federal death penalty - again! Although the 9/11 Commission's report did not recommend any further extension of the death penalty, the House of Representatives' "9/11 Commission Recommendations Implementation Act" exploits this national tragedy with eight new provisions to broaden the federal death penalty.

This bill, H.R. 10, has already passed the House and will be considered in conference with Senate legislation that contains no death penalty expansion. Within the next few days, the bills will be reconciled -- please write the conferees right away and tell them to drop the wasteful and counterproductive death penalty provisions from the bill!

Ask the conferencing members to drop death penalty expansion Here's why:

The death penalty is an ineffective and counter-productive way to punish terrorists. Suicidal terrorists are not going to be deterred by the death penalty. In fact, many terrorists believe that if they die committing an act of terrorism they will become a martyr.

The death penalty is an impediment in seeking support from the international community to prosecute terrorism offenses. Most of our allies in the war on terror have abolished the death penalty and believe it to be a human rights violation. Many countries refuse to cooperate with extraditing suspected terrorists to the United States for prosecution until they receive assurances that the U.S. will not seek the death penalty. This has happened several times in post-September 11 terrorism cases and also in the case of James Kopp, wanted for slaying a New York abortion doctor.

Finally, serious racial and geographic disparities have been identified with the federal death penalty and these problems have not been addressed. In the fall of 2000, Janet Reno published a preliminary report showing serious racial and geographic disparities with the implementation of the federal death penalty. Reno called for further studies and at the time of his confirmation, John Ashcroft promised to follow up. He has never conducted the in-depth study he promised. As a matter of principle, Congress should not be expanding the federal death penalty while these problems are unaddressed.

More on H.R. 10 here .

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