News Release

Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Applauds Repeal of the Death Penalty in Colorado

Washington, DC (March 23, 2020) -- This afternoon, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law a bill repealing the death penalty in Colorado, making Colorado the 22nd state in the United States, in addition to the District of Columbia, to abolish or overturn the death penalty.

“The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers applauds the Colorado state legislature and Governor Jared Polis for bringing the United States one state closer to a nationwide abolition of the death penalty,” said NACDL President Nina Ginsberg. “Not only is the death penalty a barbaric practice, it disproportionately affects people of color, imposes significant expenses, and is both unjust and ineffective.”

The 2020 legislation succeeded after several failed attempts to pass similar legislation in past years.

Colorado’s last execution was Gary Lee Davis in 1997. In addition to signing the repeal into law today, Governor Polis also commuted the sentences of the remaining three death row inmates to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

NACDL is an affiliate of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. And NACDL’s long-standing position calling for a moratorium on and abolition of the death penalty in the U.S. is recited in this board resolution.


Madeline Sklar, Public Affairs and Communications Assistant, (202) 465-7647 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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