The group "Iowans Against the Death Penalty" is holding an event Saturday evening to mark its 45th anniversary. Spokesman Shawn Sherman says the group continues the fight the reinstatement of the death penalty in the state.
Sherman says Iowans Against the Death penalty has a firm belief that any civil society does not punish individuals within the society by killing them. Sherman says the group believes life without parole is a more civil sentence. Sherman says four people will be honored with the Harold Hughes award, named for the former Iowa Governor who pushed to end the use of the death penalty.
This year’s recipients are University of Iowa Law School Professor David Baldus, Des Moines attorney James Benzoni, former governor Tom Vilsack, and former state legislator John Ely. Sherman says each of the recipients had a handing in fighting to end the death penalty, or keep it from being reinstated.
Sherman says the group feels confident for now that the death penalty won’t return. He says the current leadership in the statehouse has assured them that a bill reinstating the death penalty will not make it out of committee in either 2007 or 2008. Sherman says the last time the death penalty came close to be reinstated was 1995. The 45th anniversary event is Saturday evening at 6:30 at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Des Moines. The last person put to death in Iowa was hanged in 1963.