We're working hard to abolish the death penalty in Montana.
Together with the other members of the Montana Abolition Coalition, the ACLU of Montana continues to mobilizes victims' family members, civil liberties supporters, law enforcement, faith leaders and you to end the death penalty.
During the 2013 Montana Legislature, the Coalition supported House Bill 370 to repeal capital punishment and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole. Despite being a truly bipartisan bill, the Montana House Judiciary Committee once again ignored the will of Montanans and voted 11 - 9 to block our effort to repeal the death penalty.
While Montanans remain frustrated with the House Judiciary Committee's unwillingness to let this issue be debated by the full House chamber, the Coalition achieved many successes during the 2013 Legislature.
We had unprecedented bipartisan support. Rep. Doug Kary, Rep. Margie MacDonald, Sen. Dave Wanzenried, and Sen. Matt Rosendale deserve to be recognized for their courageous leadership in our fight to repeal the death penalty. As a testimony to their ability to build bridges, a dozen Republicans and most Democrats publicly supported abolition. Few other issues at the 2013 Legislature generated that kind of bipartisan support.
The diverse voices that spoke out for abolition was encouraging-from murder victim family members, corrections workers, faith leaders, a Supreme Court Justice, everyday Montanans, and the list goes on. This is a movement that can only grow.
The public debate has shifted in favor of repealing capital punishment in Montana. Both the Great Falls Tribune and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, outlined the need to repeal the death penalty, joining the Helena IR and the Daily Interlake who editorialized for abolition in years past. Countless letters to the editor blanketed the opinion papers across the state, along with op-eds from leading stakeholders, further advanced the public debate.
Going forward Montanans must remember that our work contributes to the national abolition movement. Indeed, Maryland recently abolished the death penalty and Delaware may be close behind. Their success will only make our work easier in Montana.
In the interim the ACLU of Montana and the Coalition will continue to educate the public and mobilize support for repeal across Montana. To follow the Coalition's activities, please visit here and sign up for our email alerts.
Other Death Penalty Developments
Facts about the death penalty in Montana: A report card
What is the Montana Abolition Coalition?
Originally started as an alliance of organizations, the Montana Abolition Coalition is a non-profit alliance of individuals working to abolish Montana's death penalty. In addition to the ACLU of Montana, members include The Montana Human Rights Network, The Montana Catholic Conference, The Montana Association of Churches and Equal Justice USA.
Get involved and check us out at www.mtabolitionco.org.
Learn more about death penalty abolition work worldwide from the Death Penalty Action Network.