Gov. Edwards publicly calls for an end to Louisiana’s death penalty as legislative session begins

Gov. John Bel Edwards for the first time is for an end to the death penalty in Louisiana.
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 10:48 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards for the first time is for an end to the death penalty in Louisiana. Edwards took his public stance during his final State of the State address on Monday, April 10.

“For the first time, I’m calling on the legislature to end the death penalty,” Edwards said.

Louisiana is one of 27 states where the death penalty still exists.

Rep. Kyle Green from Jefferson Parish filed a bill before the state of the regular legislative session that would abolish capital punishment, despite receiving pushback over the years.

“I think it’s inconsistent with our values of being a Pro-Life state. On one hand, we say we support the most innocent life, and all lives should be protected, but we are perpetuating a culture of death,” Green said.

Green and those who agree with him have argued that it’s too expensive, difficult to carry out, ineffective at deterring crime, and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

He also noted a recent number of exonerations and sentence reversals that led to people getting off death row before facing execution.

However, opponents to similar bills in the past have suggested that it should remain an option for prosecutors and judges to use. In 2022, one prosecutor said it’s necessary to keep the death penalty in place so they can speak on behalf of victims that are no longer here.

“Can’t be here today because they slaughtered, murdered, shot, dumped in swamps, dumped in ditches...they can’t be here. What if they could be here, what would they say about the death penalty? They might have a different perspective,” said John Sinquefield, a prosecutor who testified in opposition.

Despite the Governor’s recent support, it still has a long way to go before it can reach his desk.

The proposal has failed to gain enough support over the years, but some lawmakers remain cautiously optimistic.

“Historically the death penalty has always been used as something that can promote fear, hopefully with the intent to detour crime, but it’s never done that,” said Rep. Royce Duplessis. “My philosophy not only applies to the death penalty, but to all ways in which we stop crime, which is stopping it on the front end. More recreational opportunities, more investing in people, and thinking we can scare people out of committing crime. It simply doesn’t work.”

Click here to report a typo.