As Maryland is poised to become the 18th state to ban the death penalty, it is worth being reminded of the long-standing position of the American Humanist Association in opposition to capital punishment. Below is the most recent of several resolutions on capitol punishment adopted by the AHA board of directors over the years.
The below resolution can be read as a PDF here.
American Humanist Association
Resolution on Capital Punishment
Adopted by the Board of Directors
June 1, 2000 ~ Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
WHEREAS the American Humanist Association affirms the worth and dignity of every human being and has repeatedly, by Resolutions expressed its opposition to capital punishment; and
WHEREAS governments which employ the death penalty suffer diminished ethical standing; and
WHEREAS more than four score innocent persons have been released from death row after their convictions for capital crimes were shown to have been in error; and
WHEREAS improper and illegal actions by law enforcement officials, which provide juries and judges with inaccurate or insufficient evidence which in turn has resulted in erroneous convictions, leads the American Bar Association to say that the administration of the death penalty is “a haphazard maze of unfair practice with no internal consistencies,” and
WHEREAS execution of any convicted but innocent person is an irreversible act; now
THEREFORE the American Humanist Association, in pursuit of the goal establishing the highest ethical principles as moral standards for the laws and government of the United States,
- Supports both legislative and executive initiatives at the Federal and State levels to impose moratoriums on carrying out any existing capital verdicts;
- Opposes any legislation which would make executions of current or future convicts more likely through limitations in the appeals process or otherwise;
- Advocates the greatly expanded use of every available means, whether judicial, scientific or technical, to ensure due process and fair trials for all accused persons;
- Reiterates its unswerving opposition to capital punishment.