Capital punishment is making lots of news these days, as sending defendants to their death as punishment for their crimes seems to be a hot topic across the country.  Consider the following:

1.  California will vote on whether or not to abolish the death penalty in November 2012 as Proposition 34 is on the ballot. 

It seems money is a big factor in this vote.  Of note, the series of opinion editorials published by the Sacremento Bee, arguing against the death penalty and for the passage of Proposition 34 point by point. 

2.  Montana may end the death penalty as punishment too.

There’s a move in Montana to end the death penalty now that the statute has been found in violation of the state constitution by a Montana State District Judge.  One group, the Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, appears to be both vocal and powerful – they’ve got a website if you want to learn more. 

3.  Pennsylvania, meanwhile, is still among the states that are executing people.  Pennsylvania has an execution scheduled for the first time in 13 years.

The execution of Terrance Williams will happen now in all likelihood, since clemency has just been denied by the Board of Pardons.  It was a 3 to 2 vote and an unianimous decision is needed to stop things. 

However, there is still some hope that there will be mercy over judgment – a hearing has been granted for defense attorneys to argue that evidence was withheld at trial regarding a history of Williams being a victim of sexual abuse as a child which might have been mitigating in his sentencing at the time. 

4.  Missouri is reconsidering the death penalty sentence of Reginald "Reggie" Clemons even though many in that state consider him worthy of death after conviction for the rape and murder of two sisters in St. Louis, who were pushed to their deaths from the Chain of Rocks Bridge into the Mississippi River. 

Reggie Clemons is one of four men who were found guilty of killing two young girls, sisters Robin and Julie Kerry, back in 1991.  Clemons has consistently claimed his innocence in this case and his defense attorneys are optimistic after the Missouri Supreme Court appointed a judge to preside over a hearing to look into prosecutorial misconduct, racial bias, and other misdeeds.

5.  Connecticut’s Death Penalty Statute is being challenged by those setting on Connecticut’s Death Row who still face execution even though the statute itself was repealed.

In Connecticut, the death penalty statute was repealed back in April 2012, but that didn’t grandfather in the 11 men who are already sentenced to death and awaiting execution.  These men have grouped together in a joint effort to fight against their ironic situation, and a hearing has been held this month on whether or not they should have their sentences revisited. 

As for Florida and Texas?  Stay tuned.