Shackleford: Court ruling highlights demand for change in handling of death penalty
INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis), Chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC), issued the following statement regarding the Indiana Supreme Court's ruling that the Indiana Department of Corrections must disclose the drugs used in the application of lethal injections for inmates on the state's Death Row:
“I am glad to see the Indiana Supreme Court uphold Judge Lynch's decision and bring this saga to a close. This is a victory for transparency in our criminal justice system.
“Looking back on how we got here, the determination of the IDOC and Republican legislators to keep the details of this cocktail a secret highlights the underlying issue: As more and more people become aware of the deep flaws and systematic inequalities related to capital punishment, the tide of public opinion is finally turning. It has been 12 years since the State of Indiana carried out an execution. Since then support for the death penalty has dropped 10%.
“This is why I am proud to be the House sponsor of Senate Bill 252. This bipartisan legislation would task a study committee with reviewing the imposition of the death penalty. It is well past time we join states across the country in reconsidering how we approach such sentences. Across the nation, studies have shown terrible racial disparities in the application of capital punishment, as well as an alarming number of Death Row acquittals. All with no evidence that the death penalty reduces crime.
“We will never know how many innocent lives have been lost at the hands of our government due to faulty prosecutions and biased sentencing. But we can ensure that no more will join their number. The IBLC is dedicated to building a more just state and this committee study would be a part of that.
“I am glad to see this issue receive bipartisan backing in the Senate and hope that it will see the same here in the House. We must take serious steps to learn from the past and move forward together to purge racism from our justice system and ensure that beyond the shadow of a doubt no innocent life will be taken by the State of Indiana.”