Effort to repeal death penalty fails in Colorado Senate

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DENVER -- An effort to repeal the death penalty in Colorado has failed in the state Senate.

Sen. Julie Gonzalez, a Democratic sponsor of the bill, moved to postpone indefinitely the bill on Tuesday after it became clear the votes weren't there for passage.

The defeat of death penalty repeal is the first major defeat for progressives in Colorado since the new Democratic majority took control in January.

"There are those who say this bill was not laid out in the right way," Gonzalez said as she choked back tears on the floor. "I don't understand it but I accept it.

"I'm going to give SB 182 a dignified death."

A major reason the bill was defeated is State Sen. Rhonda Fields, a Democrat, spoke out against the measure.

Fields' son was murdered by two of the three men on Colorado's death row. Fields believed the measure should have gone to a vote of the people.

Prosecutors also lobbied lawmakers to keep the death penalty in place as it is used as a tool to get criminals to plead guilty and help investigators.

"It has always been my position that the death penalty is an ineffective deterrent that is discriminatory in its application, and ends up costing taxpayers more than a life sentence without parole," Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement.

"There are currently no plans for a special session to address the death penalty. Instead, I hope that legislators take the time to continue working on this issue so hopefully by next session we can end this ineffective, expensive and discriminatory practice."

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