Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty

CCATDP Calls on Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to Act!

CCATDP’s National Manager, Hannah Cox, joined the organization’s State Coordinator for Tennessee, Amy Lawrence, in calling on Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to act swiftly yesterday.

In an open letter posted in the Commercial Appeal, they implored Tennessee’s Governor to commute the sentence of a man with severe mental illness scheduled for an execution this coming Thursday. The execution would be the state’s first in nearly ten years and only its seventh since reinstatement in 1976. The state has exonerated four people during that same time period over innocence issues.

The man, Billy Ray Irick, was institutionalized at the age of eight and grew up in an orphanage for the majority of his childhood. Despite numerous witnesses who attested to his psychotic break at the time of the crime, his illness was never brought up at trial.

You can read the full letter here.

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Hyden: Conservatives concerned about death penalty

I recently penned an op-ed in the Chattanooga Times Free Press detailing my experiences at Justice Day on the Hill in Nashville, Tennessee, which is an annual event at the capitol hosted by Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. I had the opportunity to speak with Representative McManus, among many others. The op-ed states:

As a fiscal conservative, Representative McManus understands that Tennessee is experiencing the same problems as other states with the death penalty, and we discussed the exorbitant costs of capital punishment.

Rep. McManus, like a growing number of Republicans around the country, told me of his concerns about the possibility of executing an innocent person and how Tennessee’s death penalty system gets it wrong sometimes. He pointed to the case of Paul House, who spent nearly 23 years on Tennessee’s death row before all charges against him were dropped in 2009.

It goes on

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