Death Penalty Bill Approved By Committee

A bill that would have abolished the death penalty was amended and approved by the House Appropriations Committee this morning.

The measure would have eliminated capital punishment and used the savings from such an act to fund a cold case unit in the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. But instead, it was amended to reduce the number of prosecutors working on death penalty cases to two, which is also the number of inmates currently on death row.From the AP:

Rep. Paul Weissmann, D-Louisville, said the state could save millions of dollars yearly that is spent prosecuting and defending death penalty cases. He said the money could be better spent catching criminals still walking the streets.

The bill will go to the full House for debate, and then go on to the Senate if approved.

There is also another bill to create a cold case unit being sponsored by Rep. Joe Rice and Sen. John Morse, which does not include a provision to abolish the death penalty.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at

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