House Mulls Plan to Nix Death Penalty in Montana

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – A proposal to repeal Montana’s death penalty is facing a key hurdle after clearing the Senate.

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday heard Senate Bill 185 by Democratic Sen. David Wanzenried. The bill would replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole.

A similar measure in the 2009 legislative session died in the same committee after being approved by the Senate.

Proponents of abolishing the death penalty say the punishment draws out the suffering of victim’s families through lengthy trials and innocent people could accidently be put to death.

Opponents say the death penalty is an important tool for bargaining with criminals and stops murderers from killing again in prison.

The measure passed the Senate 26-24 last month.

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