TOPEKA (KSNT) – religious leaders from across Kansas converged on the statehouse today, urging the state do away with the law allowing the death penalty in capital murder cases. Since 2002 Kansas has sentenced nine people to the death but the state hasn’t executed anyone since 1965.
Some of the leading religious leaders in Kansas want to make sure the state doesn’t execute anyone. At the statehouse this afternoon they met to present the governor and legislature with a petition to do away with the state’s death penalty.
The petition contains the names of more than 400 members of religious communities of all faiths. One of their arguments is that the state spends more than $24,000 a year to keep inmates on death row. But their most important concern is that history has shown not everyone executed, was actually guilty of the crime.
“It doesn’t allow to correct mistakes that are made and we know that mistakes are made in the penal justice system so by using the death penalty there’s no reversal of those mistakes,” says Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann.
Republican Representative Steven Becker of Buhler, says “Kansas was called the most pro-life state in America that cannot be true, that cannot be true as long as the death penalty is in the pages of our law books.”
Religious leaders urge Kansans who, in their words, “care about life” and want to see the death penalty abolished to contact their legislators.
Attorney general Derek Schmidt is currently appealing state supreme court rulings which overturned several death penalty sentences. He had no comment for us on today’s religious appeal.