Oppose Expanded Use of the Death Penalty

HR 115 aims to expand the list of crimes eligible for the death penalty to include attempted murder of a peace officer or first responder. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Florida), the sponsor of this bill, claims it will deter would-be criminals from targeting police. However, all evidence is against this. States that have discontinued the use of the death penalty, such as New York, have not seen a rise in violence against police officers. In fact, major studies have repeatedly shown that the death penalty does not deter criminals from assaulting or killing police officers or for committing crimes more generally. In fact, a national survey of U.S. police chiefs found the majority believe the death penalty is an ineffective measure to protect the safety of their police officers. Additionally, there is strong evidence of racial bias in the application of the death penalty, and expanding its use will only worsen racial inequities in the criminal justice system."