Oklahoma Coalition Holds Rally to Speak out against Death Penalty

Article excerpt

Legislation opposing the death penalty in Oklahoma was hailed by a coalition of church and civil justice groups Tuesday, the same day a bill to establish procedures for determining mental retardation in death penalty cases was approved by a legislative committee.

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty held a rally on the north steps of the Capitol in support of two bills by state Rep. Opio Toure, D-Oklahoma City and one bill by state Sen. Constance Johnson, D-Oklahoma City. House Bill 2738, by Toure, would create a task force to determine if Oklahoma has executed any innocent people. HB 2739 by Toure would abolish the death penalty in Oklahoma.

Senate Bill 2009 by Johnson would establish a commission to determine if Oklahoma's death penalty is administered in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner.

It's called capital punishment because them without capital die, said Camille Landry of the coalition. Many studies show that the death penalty does not deter crime, diverts time and money from public protection and restitution for victims' families, and that the risk of executing an innocent person is high.

Members of the coalition lobbied their legislators to give the three bills a hearing. …