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Statement from Nevada State Democratic Party Officers in Support of AB395

The NV Dems Executive Leadership is proud to support AB395 to abolish the death penalty in Nevada and congratulates the 26 Assembly Democrats for unanimously voting to pass the bill in the Nevada Assembly. Their full voiced support of total death penalty repeal marks a noteworthy departure from previous stalled efforts in our state and necessary step in our mission for a more just society. Death penalty abolition strikes at the core of our party’s values. It is rightfully supported by our President, Joe Biden, along with countless Democrats around the nation and Nevada. Thanks to the leadership of Speaker Jason Frierson and Assemblyman Steve Yeager, this racist, biased, broken, costly, and inhumane institution of death may finally see an end in the Silver State.

As the party that prides itself on seeking to build a world full of compassion, mercy, equity, and hope, we must take it upon ourselves to shape our justice system to reflect those virtues. Today, the need to reimagine our legal system is omnipresent. The death penalty exacerbates the fallibility and systemic biases of our society and its legal system, with grave consequences. The death penalty is disproportionately wielded against the poor, the mentally ill, people of color, and especially against Black people. In reaffirming our duty to uproot systemically biased violence from our criminal legal system, the abolition of the death penalty is a step in the right direction.

Also, the death penalty always presents the risk of executing the innocent. In fact, among death-row inmates, for every nine executions, there has been one exoneration. This system costs more than half a million dollars more per case than when the death penalty is not sought and takes on average two decades to litigate, often re-traumatizing victim families and loved ones with no guarantee of closure. Yet despite its risks and costs, researchers have found zero proof the death penalty deters violence. This institution does not reflect the best of Nevada.

We commend our Assembly Democrats for standing up for our values. Ending the death penalty clears the path for a better way forward for our state, one dedicated to evidence-based solutions to public safety, justice, and victim wellbeing. Passage of AB395 would be a historic step forward for our state. We believe important results like these are among the reasons Nevada voters support Democrats, trusting our leaders to champion meaningful progress for a better future. And we believe that when every Democrat in the Assembly voted together on something as important as this, it deserves the support of their Senate colleagues in a hearing and vote so our party and the bill’s supporters may be heard. We ask Democrats throughout Nevada to join in congratulating our Assembly Democrats’ unanimous vote for AB395 and to join together in ensuring the death penalty is finally abolished. Now is the time to end this dark chapter in our state’s history and finally turn the page to a brighter, safer, and better future.