Death Penalty – Strongly Retentionist:
Biden’s record on death penalty reform is the weakest of any of the 2008 Democratic candidates. He is a supporter of capital punishment, and holds the distinction of being the author of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (often referred to as the “Biden crime bill”), which expanded the federal death penalty to include drug trafficking, a nonviolent offense.
Biden Law of 1994 created several new capital offenses
Biden is credited for authoring several significant pieces of legislation in the area of federal law enforcement, including The Violent Crime Control & Law Enforcement Act of 1994, widely known as the Biden Law, which:
- Banned the manufacture of 19 specific semiautomatic “assault weapons”
- Allocated more money to build prisons & set up bootcamps for delinquent minors
- Designated 50 new federal offenses, including gang membership, and created several new federal death penalty offenses, including murders related to drug dealing, drive-by shooting murders, civil rights-related murders, murders of federal law enforcement officers, and death caused by acts of terrorism or weapons of mass destruction.
The law was passed shortly before the Oklahom City bombing, and its provisions were applied to execute Timothy McVeigh. The legislation received bipartisan support, but was reviled by death penalty opponents and civil libertarians. Some believe it broke ground for the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001.
Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p.179 Nov 11, 2007
Voted NO on limiting death penalty appeals.
Vote to table, or kill, a motion to send the bill back to the joint House-Senate conference committee with instructions to delete the provisions in the bill that would make it harder for prisoners given the death penalty in state courts to appeal.
Reference: Bill S.735 ; vote number 1996-66 on Apr 17, 1996
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