ACLU of Colorado Statement on George Brauchler’s Decision to Seek the Death Penalty in the Johnson Case
Statement of ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley:
“The ACLU of Colorado is disappointed by Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler’s decision to pursue the death penalty in yet another case, an outlier decision in direct contradiction to movement across Colorado and the rest of the country away from spending limited resources in the pursuit of death. The death penalty is expensive and arbitrary, and every costly trial perpetuates a broken, racially-biased system that can and does make irreversible mistakes.
Brauchler wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on the Aurora theater trial, a multi-million dollar failure that resulted in the same life sentence that was on the table all along. Similarly, the defendant in this case has offered to enter a guilty plea and accept a sentence of life without parole, rendering a costly trial unnecessary.
Brauchler is once again seeking to put the 18th Judicial District of Colorado on the map for all the wrong reasons. Currently, Colorado’s death row is occupied exclusively by black men sentenced in the 18th Judicial District. If Brauchler secures a death sentence in this case, he will add yet another black man from the 18th Judicial District to the row.
According to a report released by the Death Penalty Information Center, just 2% of all US counties account for the vast majority of death sentences and executions in this country. Prosecutors all over the country have made the common-sense decision to stop throwing away millions on death cases and to start using those resources on programs that actually make their communities safer and ensure victims’ families have access to all the services they need.
Colorado can ensure the safety of the public, harshly punish killers, and spend limited resources wisely by putting those convicted of first-degree murder in prison for the rest of their lives with no possibility of parole. It’s time to stop the political, tough-on-crime charade of the death penalty and to start talking about meaningful ways to prevent crime and better care for victims in the wake of violence.”
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The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.
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The Capital Punishment Project works toward the repeal of the death penalty in the United States through strategic litigation, advocacy, public education, and training programs for capital defense teams.