ACCORDING to Democratic Del. Jay Jones, Virginia is poised to become the first state in the South and the 23rd US state overall to ban the death penalty.
After lawmakers approved legislation prohibiting the practice on Monday, February 22, Jones, who is running for state attorney general, tweeted: “We’re dismantling the remnants of Jim Crow here in the New South. Abolishing the death penalty is another step on that journey.”
Virginia has executed more people than any state except Texas since they first began under a colonial government in 1608 and following the Supreme Court’s decision restoring the death penalty in 1976, the southern state is said to have executed 1,390 people.
Senator Tim Kaine, a former governor of Virginia and a co-sponsor of bicameral legislation to end the federal death penalty called Virginia “the death penalty capital of the United States.”
Kaine continued by saying: “Thankfully the repeal of the death penalty by its leading practitioner gives hope that work for justice is not in vain. Virginia’s progress shows that it is possible for all.”
Two people currently remain on death row in Virginia, however, IF the bill becomes law, Anthony Juniper and Thomas Porter will face life in prison without parole.
Virginia’s governor and two other democrats confirmed their support, stating: “Thanks to the vote of lawmakers in both chambers, Virginia will join 22 other states that have ended the use of the death penalty.
“This is an important step forward in ensuring that our criminal justice system is fair and equitable to all.”
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