innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Monday, November 21, 2005

Wisconsin senators propose death penalty bill

State Sen. Tom Reynolds, R-West Allis, is seeking co-sponsors for new legislation to reinstate the death penalty in Wisconsin , reports the Badger Herald.

An execution has not occurred in Wisconsin since 1851 when it first became a state after a man was convicted of drowning his wife. He was sentenced to death by hanging. Two years later Wisconsin abolished the death penalty.

Reynolds proposes the legislation be passed, but only with a DNA stipulation. He supports the death penalty, but only if there is forensic evidence that connects the suspect with the crime as a way to prevent wrongful convictions.

He sites the case of cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer were the death penalty would have been justified, and say only cases were "egregious crimes" have been committed would warrant execution.

Although the bill would have a DNA stipulation some Wisconsin death penalty opponents say once a wrongfully convicted person is sentenced to death there is no reversal of the mistake and therefore they will not support the bill.

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