Time.news – Virginia is the first southern US state to abolish the death penalty and the 23rd in the nation. Governor Ralph Northam signed the bill thanks to a Democratic majority in the state parliament.
“We cannot inflict the most extreme sentence without being 100% sure that we are right and above all knowing that the system does not work the same for everyone,” commented Democrat Northam in Greensville prison, before signing the historic law that abolishes. the death penalty in Virginia and which will come into effect next July. Northam cited the case of Earl Washington Junior, sentenced to death in Virginia in 1984 and then acquitted in 2000 thanks to DNA.
Virginia is the state with the highest number of death sentences carried out in American history: 1400. The death penalty in the US returned to force in 1976 at the state level and in 1988 at the federal level. There are two death row inmates currently in Virginia and their sentences will be commuted to life imprisonment.