Bill restricting death penalty falters in South Dakota Senate

Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 9:28 AM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The South Dakota Senate voted down a bill that aimed to restrict the use of the death penalty in the state.

Senate Bill 98 would have limited the sentence to cases of first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, corrections employee or firefighter while in the line of duty.

Bill sponsor, Senator Art Rusch of Vermillion argued the death penalty isn’t a deterrent, pointing out the several murder cases the state has seen since the death penalty was reinstated in 1979.

Supporters of the death penalty argued it is an important tool for police and prosecutors.

The bill was defeated on a vote of thirteen to twenty on Monday, Dakota Radio Group reports.

Rusch, a former circuit judge, has sponsored several bills seeking limits on the death penalty over the past few sessions.

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