Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rep. Hodge and her death penalty vote

The death penalty in Colorado has survived by a single vote,

One by one, senators at last revealed their views Wednesday on the complicated and controversial topic of the death penalty with simple ayes and nays during a roll-call vote in the waning hours of the legislative session.

The verdict, by a single vote, came back in favor of keeping capital punishment in Colorado despite appeals from Senate leadership and pleas from the families of victims killed in unsolved murders.

The final tally: 17-18.

The outcome is not a surprise, it's been obvious for weeks that the bill was in trouble in the Senate and that the governor, per usual, wasn't going to provide leadership on this issue. What I find curious though is the reasoning and logic (if you can call it that) of Rep. Mary Hodge who was one of four Democrats to vote against the bill and thus ensure the preservation of the death penalty in Colorado for the near future,

Hodge said she's anti-death penalty but didn't agree with using its demise as a way to help solve cold cases.

I do not understand how one can be opposed to the death penalty and still cast the deciding vote to maintain the death penalty. If she's not happy with funding cold cases with the money saved I still don't understand now that pushes you to vote "No" on the bill. How the money saved is spent is sort of a minor detail in the grand scheme of things, no? Also, does she not support more funding for cold cases? What are her specific issues with the legislation?

My impression was that the cold case funding was placed into the bill to provide an incentive to those on the fence. It has a logical connection to the issue as the death penalty is, of course, a penalty for murder. I understand that not every legislator might be happy with every detail of the bill but this is politics and that's just how it goes. You don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Bottom line, I don't think you can claim to oppose the death penalty and then cast the deciding vote to uphold it.

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