What: All Issues : Justice for All: Civil and Criminal : Punishment Fitting the Crime : H.R. 2799. Fiscal 2004 Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations/Vote to Restrict the Number of Death Penalty Convictions.
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H.R. 2799. Fiscal 2004 Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations/Vote to Restrict the Number of Death Penalty Convictions.
house Roll Call 421     Jul 23, 2003
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

Representative Rush (D-IL), during consideration of an appropriations bill to fund the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, introduced an amendment which would have barred the use of federal funds to carry out the sentencing phase of any trial in which federal prosecutors sought the death penalty. Rush was quick to point out that his amendment would not overturn the legality of the death penalty. Instead, Rush intended to cut back on the number of death penalty convictions in a round-about way by withholding federal funds during the sentencing phase of a trial in which the death penalty was sought. Progressives voted in support of Rush's amendment based on their opposition to the death penalty. In their view, a government should not have the power to sentence its citizens to death. Moreover, Progressives argued, many death penalty convictions are fraught with injustices; minorities, for instance, are far more likely to receive the ultimate punishment than are whites. In addition, many convicts who had been put to death were later found to be innocent based on DNA evidence (by then, of course, it was too late). Despite support from Progressives, both a majority of Democrats and an overwhelming number of Republicans voted against the Rush amendment and the measure to restrict the number of death penalty convictions was defeated 85-339.

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