FEB. 22, 2018 -- Texas's governor just commuted the death sentence of a man minutes before his scheduled execution. A bill to repeal the death penalty has favorably passed out of a Utah legislative committee.

Thus is the state of America’s death penalty: on one night a commutation in Texas minutes from execution because of the victims’ pleas, a called-off execution in Alabama of a terminally ill prisoner as defense lawyers warn against a botched execution, and an execution in Florida. Meanwhile, bills to repeal the death penalty are progressing in the Washington and Utah legislatures.

America’s death penalty will never be anything but a horrible, terrifying, brutalizing, racist, classist, expensive, error-prone mess. More and more people see that.

Utah – Utah! – is considering abolishing the death penalty.

Texas’s Governor Greg Abbott commuted the sentence of Thomas Whitaker after the state’s clemency commission voted unanimously for clemency following pleas by Whitaker’s father to spare the life of his son, who killed Thomas’s mother and brother and shot the father. Executing his son would cause more pain to the family, the father said, and he had forgiven him.

In Alabama Doyle Hamm will not be executed due to "insufficient time to prepare the inmate for execution" and his likely damaged veins. The US Supreme Court issued a temporary stay moments before the scheduled execution. Hamm's death warrant expired at midnight and the Alabama officials said they didn't believe they could start the procedure in time.

Florida executed Eric Branch.

What was to have been a rare night of three executions wasn’t.

The abolition movement is winning – for us all. Support and get involved with your state abolition group. Help your faith leaders lend their support. Let us know if we can help: info@pfadp.org.

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