Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: Intellectual Disability and the Death Penalty

On January 25th, Georgia Catholics Against the Death Penalty hosted a webinar entitled “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: Intellectual Disability and the Death Penalty.” The webinar featured Brian Stull, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project and lead counsel on the Young vs. Georgia case, a case which may be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court and seeks to challenge Georgia’s unreasonably high burden of proving intellectual disability. Additional panelists include Maggie Rousseau (Director of Disabilities Ministry) and Jayna Hoffacker (Associate Director of Justice and Peace Ministries) of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and Frank Mulcahy, Executive Director of the Georgia Catholic Conference.

We invite you to watch a replay of the webinar here:

The slides used during the presentation can be downloaded here.

As always, we appreciate your feedback. If you participated in the webinar online, or watched the replay, please take a moment to fill out a short evaluation and let us know what you thought of the webinar.

Webinar – Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: Intellectual Disability and the Death Penalty in Georgia

Georgia Catholics Against the Death Penalty invite you to join us for a discussion on intellectual and developmental disabilities, what Georgia’s standard of proof means for people with disabilities and actions we can all take to work toward the reform of our criminal justice system.

Webinar – Not in Our Name: The Road to Abolishing the Death Penalty in Georgia

As we look toward the start of the Georgia General Assembly’s 2022 Session in January, the Archdiocese of Atlanta and Georgia Catholics Against the Death Penalty invite you to join us as we discuss the many roads to abolition and how you can join the movement to end the death penalty in our state.

GACADP News

Archbishop Hartmayer Supports House Bill 485

Archbishop Hartmayer released a statement in support of House Bill 485.

HB485

House Bill 485 Would Repeal the Death Penalty

In a bit of good news, a bipartisan group of Georgia House members have introduced House Bill 485 – a bill that would repeal the death penalty in Georgia.

You can read the details of the legislation here: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59757.

We have been in touch with the sponsors of the bill.  Over the coming days we will be updating our website and social media and will be sharing more information about how we can work together to ensure this bill has a chance at a hearing.

Please stay tuned!

In the meantime, please follow us on Facebook or encourage others to sign up for our mailing list.

It will take a huge effort of committed Catholics to help make this law become a reality.

56% of Georgians Favor Replacing the Death Penalty

In a poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy from December 19 through December 23, 2019, 56% of Georgia voters favored replacing the death penalty with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. 33% were opposed while 11% were undecided. The margin for error in the poll was +- 4 percentage points.

Respondents were asked:

Because of the constitutionally-mandated appeals, additional trials and associated housing expenses, the death penalty costs Georgia taxpayers substantially more than sentencing prisoners to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Additionally, death penalty cases can drag on for more than a decade, forcing victims’ families to endure years of uncertainty and waiting. In contrast, a sentence of life in prison without parole would offer swift and certain justice that allows these families to move on with the healing process.

Given this, would you support or oppose replacing the death penalty in Georgia with a life sentence without parole?

The results paint a clear picture – faced with an expensive and error-prone system, a majority of Georgians are in favor of eliminating the death penalty and redirecting needed money to solving other crimes, investing in education to prevent crime, and providing more services to victims and their families.

Chart by Visualizer

The results hold true across the entire state, with a majority in each region in favor of replacement:

Region Support Oppose Undecided
Atlanta Metro61%27%12%
North Georgia46%43%11%
Central Georgia51%40%9%
South Georgia52%38%10%

The results were similar across age ranges, with a higher number of those under 50 favoring replacing the death penalty:

Chart by Visualizer
Chart by Visualizer

Women more strongly favor replacement, though a majority of men are in support:

Chart by Visualizer
Chart by Visualizer
Download the full survey results
Legal

House Bill 702 Introduced to Repeal the Death Penalty

On Thursday, March 28th, a bipartisan group of representatives introduced House Bill 702 which, if enacted, would abolish the death penalty in Georgia. The bill will not get a hearing this year, but will be considered in the next legislative session. The bill was introduced by Representative Brett Harrell and co-sponsored by Representatives Bob Trammell, William Boddie, Scott Holcomb, Bill Werkheiser, and Scot Turner.

We will provide regular updates and action items as we learn more about this bill.