NCADP is grateful for the support of Working Assets/CREDO as a 2009 grant recipient. Click here to learn more about Working Assets/CREDO and become a customer. Help us become a 2010 grant recipient by nominating us here.
Executive Directors of NCADP, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Express Opposition to Federal Death Penalty Amendment in Hate Crimes Bill
Margaret Summers - July, 21 2009
Statement of Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director, NCADP
"The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP) is disappointed that the Senate voted to add a death penalty provision to the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA). At a time when the death penalty is coming under increasing scrutiny and criticism as unreliable, costly and uneven in its application the decision to authorize the death penalty for additional crimes is, to put it mildly, ill-advised.
Moreover, given concerns about the racially identifiable pattern of sentencing at the federal level, no attempt to authorize the federal death penalty for new offenses should take place without first addressing those concerns.
We urge members of Congress to seek the removal of the death penalty provisions from the final version of the bill that is approved."
Statement of Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) released the following statement on the June 20, 2009 Senate passage of S. 909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill (S. 1390).
“The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights applauds the Senate for passing the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. But, the victory is blighted with an unnecessary and poisonous death penalty amendment that is designed to kill this landmark legislation.
We urge Members of Congress to recognize this egregious effort to dismantle the Hate Crimes Prevention Act for what it is, and remove the death penalty amendment from the bill when it goes to conference.
The Leadership Conference – along with the sponsors of the bill and the more than 300 civil rights, human rights, religious, and law enforcement organizations that support the strengthening of hate crimes legislation – strongly opposed this amendment.
The need for hate crimes legislation has become apparent as we hear stories about individuals like Stephen Tyrone Johns of Washington, D.C., Sean Kennedy of South Carolina, Angie Zapata of Colorado, Luis Ramirez of Pennsylvania, and Matthew Shepard of Wyoming, and others who have found themselves targeted because of the color of their skin, their national origin, their religion, their gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.
In an increasingly diverse America, no civil right is more vital to the American Democracy than the government’s role in protecting individuals from acts of violence because of who they are.”