Colorado lawmakers have passed a death penalty repeal. What will Gov. Polis do with the men on death row? |

Colorado lawmakers have passed a death penalty repeal. What will Gov. Polis do with the men on death row?

Gov. Jared Polis speaks at a news conference in the Colorado Capitol. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

The Colorado General Assembly on Wednesday sent a bill to Gov. Jared Polis’ desk eliminating the state’s death penalty, forcing him to decide what comes next for the three men who are on death row and make the most consequential choice he’s faced since taking office last year.

Polis has said he will sign the bill, but refused to answer questions about how he will handle the men waiting in a Cañon City prison to die by lethal injection.

The legislation doesn’t affect their cases, but will raise questions about whether Colorado should follow through with their punishments. Polis could choose not to intervene, or he could alter their sentences and keep them imprisoned for the rest of their lives.

“All clemency requests are obviously a very weighty decision,” Polis, a Democrat, told The Colorado Sun on Wednesday in a brief interview. “We’ll judge them on the individual merits.”

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Last year, however, Polis suggested in an interview with Colorado Public Radio, that he would commute the sentences of Nathan Dunlap, Robert Ray and Sir Mario Owens if a bill eliminating Colorado’s death penalty were to land on his desk. 

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

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