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RI lawmaker wants to reinstate death penalty

January 17, 2012
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PROVIDENCE, R.I.—A Rhode Island state senator is seeking to reinstate the death penalty.

Democratic Sen. John Tassoni said Tuesday the state must be empowered to execute society's worst criminals to deter violent crime and give justice to victims' families. He says his legislation was also motivated by Gov. Lincoln Chafee's (CHAY'-feez) decision last year to keep a man accused of murder in state custody when he could have faced a death penalty prosecution in federal court.

Tassoni's legislation would authorize the death penalty for those convicted of first-degree murder.

The proposal is certain to face strong opposition from death-penalty opponents including Chafee.

Rhode Island abolished capital punishment in 1852 but reintroduced it two decades later. Capital punishment was abolished again in 1984. The last execution in the state took place in 1845.

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