Many conservatives believe capital punishment should be stopped, and for the first time, the issue will be debated during a breakaway session at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) event taking place in Florida this weekend.
“This shows there is an increased interest among conservative circles,” Demetrius Minor, national manager of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, told Newsmax in an interview before the breakout session, which will begin at 4:15 p.m. Friday.
The debate will feature arguments from two conservative Republican leaders, Kansas attorney general candidate Tony Mattivi and Utah County, Utah, attorney David Leavitt.
Minor, who will not be speaking during the debate, said that while conservatives have often in the past backed the death penalty, he’s learned in his conversations with fellow Republicans that concerns are growing that putting an inmate to death is not the right solution for stopping crime for many reasons.
“Some are concerned that government is too big, and people are concerned about the possibility of an innocent person being put to death,” said Minor.
Others are concerned about the costs of imposing the death penalty and ask if the money that is used to imprison people who have been sentenced to death could be better used in other ways, such as in law enforcement or to help victims’ families, he added.
Minor said for himself, as a conservative and pastor, he is also a pro-life advocate, and that means he considers it a “moral contradiction” not to respect the right to life from birth to grave.
Other conservatives have concerns about the death penalty for fiscal reasons and because of the potential expansion of Big Government involvement.
“The death penalty is costly and ineffective,” he said. “The fees that are created during trial, litigation, attorney fees, the jury, things of that nature, it’s becoming highly ineffective in a fiscal sense.”
And as far as Big Government is concerned, “I don’t trust the government to give me the most up-to-date COVID numbers and balance the budget,” let alone to make decisions on life versus death issues, said Minor.
The debate will take place for about an hour at the Orlando event, in Room C in the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, and Minor said the talk will show that either those attending will be concerned or opposed to the points that will be made.
At the same time, it means that those willing to attend a breakout session are “intellectually willing to expand their thought process and reevaluate a system that is not working,” said Minor.
Meanwhile, Republicans are leading efforts in eight states to end the death penalty, with GOP-sponsored bills included in the current legislative sessions in Utah, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Georgia, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
Minor said Ohio, considering its political climate, could prove to be an influential factor to other states when it comes to ending the death penalty.
“We are optimistic that when repeal happens in Ohio, it will have a domino effect in other red states as well,” said Minor, noting that a Republican is a primary sponsor of companion bills that have been presented.
He also pointed out that Republicans were key players in repeal efforts in Virginia, Colorado, and New Hampshire where over the past three years, each state ended the death penalty with the help of conservative Republicans. “It is starting to be a trend, seeing Republicans take the lead against the death penalty,” Minor told Newsmax.
“Conservatives are awakening to the fact that the death penalty does not align with things they care about, such as limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a commitment to life,” Minor had said in a press release earlier this week. “I look forward to engaging my fellow conservatives during CPAC, because every year we find more people who let us know that they too feel the death penalty does not align with their conservative values.”
Minor’s group is a nationwide network of conservatives who question whether capital punishment is consistent with conservative principles, and is a project of Equal Justice USA, a national and nonpartisan organization working to transform the justice system.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.