Petition 80600

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Seek Moratorium on Capital Punishment (80600-C1-R259)

Amend and Readopt Resolution 259  
WHEREAS, Because Jesus explicitly repudiates retaliation (Matthew 5:38-39) and rebukes those who desire the punishment of death (John 8:1-11), The United Methodist s Church values the sanctity of human life, and desires that no human being be executed by capital punishment. ; and WHEREAS, 75 innocent persons have been released from death row due to wrongful conviction and imprisonment since 1976, according to the National Conference on Wrongful Convictions and The Death Penalty at Northwestern University Law School; and  
Although The United Methodist Church stands unequivocally in opposition to the death penalty, we realize there are states within the United States that might be open to a moratorium on the death penalty as a gradual step towards abolition. There are numerous reasons for seeking a moratorium which include:

  • the possibility of innocence, as seen in the exoneration of 123 people wrongfully placed on death row in the United States since 1976 (Note Death Penalty Information Center),  
    • Whereas, the American Bar Association has currently called for a moratorium on the death penalty  until flaws in the criminal justice system related to capital cases are corrected, so that innocent people are not put to death ; and  
      • WHEREAS, tthorough investigations and competent experienced capital case lawyers that are often not appointed to defend poor defendants in capital cases, ; and
        • WHEREAS, highly publicized capital cases that seem often to be decided in an emotionally charged atmosphere, and ; and
          • WHEREAS, DNA evidence that was not available when most current death row prisoners were convicted. ; and WHEREAS, by October 1, 1998, the work of privately paid lawyers (by those who could afford them), DNA evidence, and legal corrections had exonerated 75 of the over 3,500 people currently on death row in the United States, Therefore, t The General Conference of The United Methodist Church calls upon the U.S. federal and state government officials to enact, within forty days of the closing of the 2008 General Conference, an immediate moratorium on carrying out of the death penalty sentence. Be it further resolved , This request should be sent to U.S. federal and state government officials that by the secretary of the General Conference, the Council of Bishops, and the general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society immediately upon the close of the 2008 General Conference. invite the governors and senators from the 50 U.S.A. states and the president, vice president, and major candidates for president of the U.S.A. to take a strong stand for this moratorium. Be it further resolved, such a request or invitation to government officials should be made within 40 days of the end of the 2000 General Conference and should be publicized in the major newspapers around the world.
               ADOPTED 2000 See Social Principles, ΒΆ 164A