New Denver District Attorney Will Not Seek Death Penalty


Beth McCann, the new district attorney for Denver, Colorado, said this week that Denver is done with the death penalty. “I don’t think that the state should be in the business of killing people,” she said.

In an interview on Denver’s NBC affiliate, Ms. McCann said that alternatives to capital punishment provide sufficient punishment at less cost to taxpayers. “I believe that life without the possibility of parole,” she said, “gets to the punishment piece, but doesn’t cost the taxpayers those millions and millions of dollars that could be used to prosecute other cases.”

Ms. McCann said she would support statewide repeal of the death penalty, either by voter referendum or a repeal bill in the legislature. Colorado has executed only one person since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, and the state currently has a moratorium on executions.

Ms. McCann’s commitment not to seek the death penalty aligns with her campaign promise to remove Denver from the list of the few remaining judicial districts in Colorado that seek capital punishment. No Denver jury has sentenced a defendant to death since 1986.

In November, voters in Hillsborough County, Florida, Harris County, Texas, and Jefferson County, Alabama, replaced prosecutors who had aggressively sought death sentences and excessive sentences against children, continuing a trend of removing overzealous prosecutors from office.

“I don’t think that the state should be in the business of killing people.”