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Founded in 1928, MCADP is the oldest active anti-death penalty organization in the United States.
Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty
Detail of Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco from the cartoon of a mural by Ben Shahn © Estate of Ben Shahn/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
The Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty, Inc. extends its condolences to the families of Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, and Sean Collier. Our thoughts are also with MBTA Police Officer Richard Donahue, Jr., and the 200-plus people injured, and all the families of those affected by the many tragedies of the Boston Marathon bombings.
MCADP and the many organizations with whom it works also share the anger and frustration of people in this Commonwealth. We know that it will take time and on-going commitment to help the victims. It will take substantial investigation and analysis to comprehend the motivations behind the Marathon bombing, and to understand its implications for the future of our Commonwealth.
We hope that political and civic leaders will resist the temptation to see revenge as an answer to heinous acts such as these. We must stay true to the Massachusetts Constitution, which has served as a model for the nation since its earliest days. We urge healing, caution and reflection as we heal our city’s wounds and work to prevent terrorism and violence in all its forms in our Commonwealth.
In Shadow of Marathon Bombings, Legislature Debates Death Penalty Reinstatement
The death penalty was abolished in Massachusetts in 1984. But now in the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings, some lawmakers want it reinstated.
One is Norfolk Rep. and U.S. Senate Candidate Dan Winslow, who helped write the original death penalty proposal when he was chief legal counsel for Gov. Mitt Romney.
"We understand that people of conscience can agree to disagree on this matter, but we have this option on the federal side," Winslow said. "We should have this option on the state side for the same reasons."
Tuesday, the House debated an amendment to the state budget that would allow the death penalty in certain cases, such as killing law enforcement officers and firefighters, lawyers and witnesses, judges and other public officials. Since then Gov. Romney proposed it in 2005, the death penalty has been repeatedly voted it down in the Legislature.
House leadership turned back the effort. They used a parliamentary maneuver to substitute a separate amendment calling for a study on the bill, so the members would not have to vote on reinstating the death penalty at such a heated time.
This time, it was introduced by Democratic Rep. James Miceli, several days before the marathon bombings, but the case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has brought the issue into a brighter spotlight.
One opponent to bringing back the death penalty to Massachusetts is Rebecca Gewirtz from the National Association of Social Workers. She says now is not the time for vengeance. It’s a time for healing.
“It was a terrible tragedy that happened here in Boston this past week and we all came together and leaned on each other and the whole world reached out to us and what a beautiful thing," Gewirtz said. "The answer isn’t to reinstitute the death penalty. The answer is to bring the perpetrators to justice and bring the community together.”
While federal charges could result in a sentence of the federal death penalty, here in Massachusetts, the Middlesex District Attorney’s office is considering state charges that do not carry the death penalty.