Lawmakers discuss AB 395 to abolish death penalty

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 11:12 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s been nearly four years since Nevada lawmakers have discussed the removal of the State’s death penalty system.

Wednesday’s hearing of Assembly Bill 395 is the first movement being taken by lawmakers since 2017. Those who supported the removal of the punishment said it is risky, immoral, and expensive.

A performance audit created by the state in 2014 shows the death penalty cost $500,000 more than the cases where the death penalty was not used. Tom Viloria, Criminal Defense, and Personal Injury Attorney said the death penalty has not been used for more than 15 years.

“Makes no sense both morally, ethically, and legally. It’s flat wrong thinking,” Viloria said.

Nevada is one of the 24 states with the death penalty, 23 states have gotten rid of it, and the other three have governor-issued moratoriums.

“The reality is there would be much more closure for these victims if they could have a piece of mind knowing that this individual will die in prison and the victims can move on,” Viloria explained.

Family members of murder victims shared their thoughts at the hearing. Cynthia Portaro’s son was murdered 10 years ago. She said it doesn’t matter what the punishment is, they are the ones who suffer the most.

“When you spend the millions and millions of dollars on this person that is in prison my thoughts are why we aren’t assisting victims more,” Portaro said.

Heather Snedeker lost a family member to the death penalty, she said this action will scar her for life.

“You are not punishing them, you are punishing the families, the children like me who are left to suffer and pick up the shattered pieces of our lives,” Snedeker said.

There was no vote on this measure by Judiciary Committee Members.

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