Wyoming can live without the death penalty. Act Now

Thank your legislators for supporting the death penalty repeal

State by state, our country is moving away from the death penalty because it's racist, arbitrary, inhumane, and prone to error.

Wyoming is closer than ever to ending the death penalty, but we need your help.

In the 2019 Wyoming legislative session, a bill to repeal the death penalty drew far more support from state lawmakers than ever before. The bill had 13 co-sponsors in the House and five in the Senate and had leadership support in both chambers. Ultimately, the bill passed in the House but failed with an 18-12 vote in the Senate.

This year, the Wyoming House of Representatives narrowly missed meeting the 2/3 supermajority of votes required to consider legislation that would repeal the death penalty during the legislature's budget session.

Let's thank the legislators running for re-election who have supported the death penalty repeal and ask them for their continued support.

The time to take up a bill ending the death penalty in Wyoming is now. Let's make a repeal happen in 2021.

To our legislators who support the death penalty repeal:

We would like to congratulate you on your primary win, and to thank you for your previous support of repealing Wyoming’s death penalty. We feel strongly that Wyoming should repeal, and look forward to working with you to make that happen in the 2021 Legislative Session.

Due to the unique and irreversible nature of ending a person’s life, death penalty statutes must satisfy complex legal requirements in order to remain constitutional. Of these constitutional requirements, none is more important than the prohibition against punishments imposed in an “arbitrary and unpredictable fashion.” Yet in Wyoming, 43 percent of death penalty cases brought by Wyoming prosecutors since 2006 were brought against people of color, despite the fact that these groups comprise only 16 percent of the state’s population.

As more information becomes available about the arbitrary and discriminatory manner in which these laws are applied — and as societal standards regarding the death penalty continue to evolve — it becomes increasingly difficult for capital punishment laws to avoid violating the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Furthermore, in the Office of the Public Defender’s memo to the 2021 Legislature regarding suggested budget cuts, the Office notes “not cutting monies that are designated to the rare [death penalty] case would only require the Public Defender to begin firing attorneys who handle the 15,000 cases annually, causing a constitutional crisis on a daily level.” Public defenders are not only essential to ensuring the integrity of Wyoming’s criminal justice system; the availability of public defense is a constitutional obligation put at risk by the extreme costs of the death penalty.

The death penalty is an intolerable denial of civil liberties and is inconsistent with the fundamental values of our democratic system. The time to take up a bill ending the death penalty in Wyoming is now. Let’s make a repeal happen in 2021. Thank you again for your support.