Fighting the Death Penalty Referendum

The Capital Times reports that a group called No Death Penalty Wisconsin has formed to oppose an advisory referendum on the November ballot. It is an umbrella group that includes the Wisconsin Coalition Against the Death Penalty, the ACLU, the Wisconsin Council of Churches, and Amnesty International. Cap Times reports that people are opposing the referendum for many reasons, including religious and moral objections, and a flawed, unfair criminal justice system that disproportionately and negatively affects minorities. The story also reports that no committee had filed in support of the referendum. One would think that if this referendum to change the Wisconsin state constitution was so important someone would be out there working to pass it. Could it be that the legislators that put it on the ballot are out of touch with the people they serve?

Demonstrate your opposition...

Atty. Arthur Thexton is active organizer of the Wisconsin Coalition Against the Death Penalty. He speaks out regularly in opposition to the upcoming referendum as both a former District Attorney and Deputy Sheriff. On September 24, 2006 he was the featured guest on Eau Claire, Wisconsin's low-power FM station, WHYS radio, 96.3 FM. Click to hear the entire show on-line...

On Wednesday, April 26, 2006
a dozen individuals ALL testified before the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Homeland Security in opposition to SJR5. Beside Sen. Alan Lasee, not a single person spoke in support of the measure introduced by Rep. Frank Lasee which offers an amendment that would put the referendum back to the November ballot, deleting the "vicious" requirement, thus allowing capital punishment for a single homicide supported by DNA evidence.

Some of the speakers in opposition included representatives of the Wisc. Civil Liberties Union, the Wisconsin Council of Churches, the Wisconsin Catholic Conference (John Huebscher) and State Public Defender Nick Chiarkas and staff, Rev. Jerry Hancock (former Assistant Attorney General and Dane County Deputy DA), Mike McCann (Milwaukee County DA) and Attorneys Tom Cannon, Jeff Sweetland and Arthur Thexton.

WCADP's Arthur Thexton provided the following
Testimony on SJR-5 before the Assembly Committee

Attorney Jeffrey P. Sweetland of Milwaukee provided the following
Statement in opposition to SJR 5

Death penalty step closer to referendum
All committee Dems vote no
By Anita Weier for the Capital Times

On Thursday, December 8, 2005 Arthur Thexton provided the following
Testimony to the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections & Privacy
(Senator Zien, chairperson; Senators Roessler, Grothman, Taylor, and Risser) at a public hearing on Senate Joint Resolution 5 relating to: providing for an advisory referendum on the question of enacting the death penalty in this state.

Question 1: Death penalty in Wisconsin. "Should the death penalty be enacted in the State of Wisconsin for cases involving a person who is convicted of multiple first-degree intentional homicides, if the homicides are vicious and the convictions are supported by DNA evidence?"
By Senators: A. Lasee, Reynolds, S. Fitzgerald and Roessler; cosponsored by Representatives Kaufert, Gunderson, Stone, Hines, Kreibich, F. Lasee, LeMahieu, Lothian, Musser, Ott, Owens, Pettis, Pridemore, Vos and Ainsworth.

John Nichols: Death penalty: unfair and unnecessary
May 23, 2006
By John Nichols

State voters should keep the death penalty abolished
Tuesday May 9, 2006
By Richard Mial
LaCrosse Tribune Opinion Page Editor

Election season brings a change of heart
Walker's turnabout catches some of his friends by surprise
March 11, 2006

Playing Politics With The Death Penalty?
By Shamane Mills
Tuesday, March 6, 2006

The Wisconsin Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP)
is a not-for-profit [501(c)3] organization opposed to capital punishment.

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