Virginia Bills Would Abolish Death Penalty, Allow Parole for Murderers

Virginia, a state which used to have the most effective capital punishment process in the country, is now considering abolishing its death penalty and allowing murderers to be released on parole.  Frank Green of the Richmond Times Dispatch reports that on Monday, SB 1165 cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party line vote.  The bill, which would abolish the death penalty, has Governor Ralph Northam’s support.   Hans Bader reports in Liberty Unyielding that last week, the head of the Virginia Courts of Justice Committee introduced SB 1370, which would allow parole to the state’s worst murderers, including serial killers.   The bill would apply retroactively to give killers serving life-without-parole sentences the opportunity for release.   As Bader notes,  “Allowing judges to retroactively shorten sentences would not only increase the crime rate, by reducing the deterrent effect of criminal penalties. It would reopen old wounds for crime victims, depriving them of any sense of closure or finality and taking away their peace of mind.”