Death penalty constitutional amendment vote taken up in Louisiana Senate

Death penalty constitutional amendment vote taken up in Louisiana Senate

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -A proposal to let voters decide if the death penalty should be abolished was put before Louisiana lawmakers this afternoon.

Many across the country aim to abolish the death penalty, including some in Louisiana.

Lake Charles public defender King Alexander is one of those fighting to end executions.

“The accuracy of it is not good. One out of 25, four per cent, of the people that Louisiana has sent to the death penalty have been exonerated, found to be factually innocent,” said Alexander.

However, Calcasieu District Attorney John DeRosier believes the death penalty is appropriate in some cases, and does deter some from committing heinous crimes.

"I think the death penalty is a deterrent to some crime. To say it will deter everybody certainly is not accurate. But it is a deterrent to some extent," said DeRosier.

But Alexander disagrees.

"They're not thinking about that at the time. It's a thing that happens in their lives and their thoughts are on other matters," said Alexander.

He also thinks the enormous expense is irrational.

DeRosier says if life sentences always meant life in prison-- he might consider changing his view.

“If there were a death penalty bill that would obviate the death penalty and substitute in its place life imprisonment where that life imprisonment sentence could not be vacated by the governor or the Department of Corrections, which is what’s happening right now, then I may not be so opposed to it,” said DeRosier.

Even some who oppose the death penalty are hesitant to put the issue before voters without first launching a campaign to educate voters about the matter.

The bill debated on the senate floor Monday afternoon, would have put the issue before voters in November 2020. But the senate rejected it with a 13 to 25 vote.

At last word there’s still a house bill pending.

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