When Governor Hickenlooper announced his cowardly decision to grant a reprieve to cold-blooded mass murderer Nathan Dunlap yesterday the reaction across the state was swift and brutal. One group in particular, however, was slow to offer comment or reaction – elected Democrats.
Afraid to anger the de facto head of their party in Colorado, Democrats have offered little to no comment on the story dominating headlines and dinner table conversations.
There has been a striking silence on the part of a number of notable Democrats, such as Senate President John Morse, who helped kill a death penalty repeal effort in 2009, or Denver DA Mitch Morrissey who testified against repeal at the legislature this year.
As far as we can tell, Rep. Rhonda Fields is the only notable to offer comment, saying she was “saddened” by Hick’s clemency cop-out. Even then the comment came a day late in a written statement.
“I respect the governor’s decision-making authority to grant a reprieve,” Fields writes in her statement. “However, as a victim of a horrible crime and on behalf of other victims and their families, I am saddened by the governor’s decision yesterday.”
The Aurora Democrat, of course, has a personal interest in the death penalty debate. Her son and his fiancee were killed by the other two members of Colorado’s death row. She remains supportive of the ultimate penalty.
Good on Plunkett for getting Fields on the record, but we have to ask: where are the rest of the Democrats on this earth shattering bit of news?
We tried to warn Colorado’s Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper that doing anything but allowing convicted Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap’s execution to proceed would not be well-received by Coloradans. Yesterday, Hick granted a “temporary reprieve” for the killer. Today, the Denver Post was kind enough to chronicle just how unpopular this move has been with its readers. With just 12% of the population agreeing with his decision, it must be a dark day for Hick. See image below for results.
Governor Hickenlooper’s cowardly decision yesterday to save mass murderer Nathan Dunlap’s life via executive order has been met with a furious reaction across Colorado. Most furious were the victims’ families, who have been waiting 20 years for justice.
The Denver Post reports on the anger among the victims’ families towards Hickenlooper:
Reactions from the families of those slain during the Chuck E. Cheese’s killings were as intense as they were different after Gov. John Hickenlooper announced he would halt the execution of Nathan Dunlap.
“The knife that’s been in my back … was just twisted by the governor,” said Bob Crowell on Wednesday after a conference call with Hickenlooper.
Crowell’s daughter, Sylvia, was among the four killed by Dunlap in December 1993 after the ex-employee hid in a bathroom until the children’s restaurant closed, then shot the five people working.
Hickenlooper contacted the families before his official announcement of an open-ended reprieve for Dunlap, 39, just three months before his scheduled execution in August.
“I don’t think its right that he sat in jail longer than my son was on Earth,” Sandi Rogers, mother of 17-year-old victim Ben Grant, said in an interview last week. “I’ve always felt if you are truly evil, then you need to not be on this planet.”
CBS4 happened to be interviewing Bob Crowell when Hickenlooper had a conference call with the victims’ families, where family members trashed Hickenlooper as a “coward”:
DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. John Hickenlooper indefinitely delayed the execution of convicted killer Nathan Dunlap on Wednesday and CBS4’s Jennifer Brice was with the parents of one victim when the governor had a private conference call with the families.
Brice was sitting in Bob Crowell’s kitchen with him as he was on phone with the governor. His daughter was killed by Dunlap at a Chuck E. Cheese 20 years ago.
During this conference call Brice could hear the other victims’ families yelling at the governor, saying things like, “Dunlap is an animal,” and “How could you do this?” And, “This is a coward’s way out.”
Watch the full CBS4 segment after the jump:
A cold-blooded killer has his life saved by Governor Hickenlooper.
Yesterday, Coloradans were outraged when Democratic Governor Hickenlooper cast aside the wishes of Nathan Dunlap’s victims’ families and granted him a “temporary reprieve” from his death sentence for slaughtering four innocent people at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese 20 years ago. Given the visceral reaction to the announcement, we have to admit even we were surprised when a reader tipped us off that Governor Hickenlooper had attended one of Denver’s most prestigious dinners last night, and partied with Denver Broncos players past and present.
We can hardly blame Hick for wanting to attend. It is, after all, one of the most anticipated events of the year in Colorado, usually honoring a great contributor to the Colorado community, and exceptionally well attended. Among the nearly 2,000 attendees last night, were the Bronco’s four Hall of Famers and numerous other Broncos alumni. Attendees even had the opportunity to take a photograph with Vince Lombardi trophies. But, this isn’t about the people who were there, or even the event itself.
During yesterday’s press conference, Hick noted that this was a difficult decision for him. He said, “We heard a variety of sides and obviously this has weighed heavily on me for over a year now.”
Perhaps the decision weighed so heavily that he needed a reprieve himself. But, when do the families, some of whom spoke out against Hick’s decision, get a reprieve from their grief over their missing loved ones? Here is what the family of victim Benjamin Grant said to Hickenlooper prior to his announcement: “Sit back, make no decision, allow the one that 12 people made after listening to all the evidence 17 years ago stand.”
With Hickenlooper’s decision ignoring the pleas of the victims’ families, we have to wonder, how did the families spend the night last night? We’re pretty sure it wasn’t toasting Denver’s finest.
Outrage is the only way to describe the reaction of many of Colorado’s leaders today over Governor Hickenlooper’s cowardly decision to issue a reprieve to mass murderer Nathan Dunlap via executive order.
From victims’ families to the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police to the District Attorney charged with convicting the Aurora shooter, many people involved in the Dunlap case were furious with Hickenlooper’s half-assed decision.
Below is a round-up of initial reaction:
Governor Hickenlooper is a coward. Rather than making a decision on whether to grant clemency to Chuck E. Cheese mass murderer Nathan Dunlap, Hickenlooper instead chose to issue an executive order for an “indefinite stay” of his execution.
In typical Hickenlooper fashion, he chose not to choose. But, unfortunately, for the cause of justice it means the cold-blooded killer gets to keep his life, even when he took four others.
Reports The Denver Post:
Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday issued an executive order granting convicted killer Nathan Dunlap a “temporary reprieve” from an execution that had been just three months away.
In an executive order that provides an indefinite stay of execution, Hickenlooper writes that the decision has weighed heavily on him…
“I don’t know why anyone would vote for someone who would want to do away with the death penalty in this case,” [Marj] Crowell said before a planned conference call with Hickenlooper.
Marj Crowell is the mother of one of Dunlap’s victims, Sylvia Crowell. In issuing his cop-out clemency decision today, Hickenlooper is insulting both the victims and the jury who decided to sentence Dunlap to death.
This decision could also affect another key death penalty case — that of Aurora shooter James Holmes. When DA George Brauchler seeks the death penalty against the human scum who committed one of the worst massacres in American history, will the jury wonder whether their decision will be respected by a future governor?
The silver lining to this decision is that if Republicans take back the governor’s mansion in 2014, a new Republican governor could issue their own executive order, allowing justice to take place and Nathan Dunlap to die for his crimes against humanity.
UPDATE: District Attorney George Brauchler responds:
“Not making a decision is an injustice,” Brauchler said.
— Jordan Steffen (@jsteffendp) May 22, 2013
Did Senator Bennet pressure the IRS to target Karl Rove’s 501(c)4 because it invested in advertisements against him in the 2010 election? Early in the IRS investigation scandal, View From a Height blogger Joshua Sharf dusted off a Michael Bennet press release that was issued the same day Bennet co-signed the now-infamous letter to the IRS commissioner requesting investigation of certain 501(c)4 groups. This press release mentioned one, and only one participant in the entire population of 501(c)4 groups, and that was Karl Rove.
Perhaps Bennet’s mention wasn’t simply targeting the largest or most well-known C4 on the block. Rove’s American Crossroads group invested nearly $6 million in advocacy advertising against Bennet during his 2010 campaign against Republican Ken Buck. Given these statistics, it’s clear why Bennet single out Karl Rove in a press release issued the same day that the contacted the IRS Commissioner on the identical topic.
This is an area of great concern, given the chilling effect that real and potential IRS investigations have on free speech, and our nation’s checkered past when it comes to these issues. The parallels between Nixon’s tactics and Bennet’s actions are worth noting. From the Second Article of Impeachment drawn up against President Richard Nixon:
“He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.” (Peak emphasis)
Bennet’s attempts to sweep this under the rug and simply shrug off the consequences of his intimidation are disturbing.
In a sign Governor Hickenlooper has all but abandoned any hope at retaining his moderate political brand, yesterday he announced his support for an impending $1 billion tax hike campaign.
Reports The Durango Herald‘s Joe Hanel at the bottom of a piece about Hickenlooper signing the attached SB213:
Hickenlooper pledged Tuesday to campaign for the tax increase once the sponsors pick a single initiative.
This, folks, is big news. In 2011, Hickenlooper steadfastly refused to take a public position on the Prop 103 tax hike ballot initiative, earning the derisive nickname “Chickenlooper.”
Currently tax hike proponents are deciding between raising taxes through increasing the flat tax rate, or creating a graduated system, with higher incomes being taxed at an even higher rate.
The fact that Hickenlooper has already agreed to back the billion dollar tax increase, without even knowing what form it wil take, is a risky move.
A recent poll that purposely over-sampled Democrats found that voters strongly oppose a tax increase, no matter what form it takes.
From our post on the poll:
Magellan polled 675 respondents from April 24-25 and found an overwhelming opposition to income tax hikes, with 55% of respondents opposed to the idea of raising the state income tax from 4.63% to 5.35% to only 36% supportive of the idea.
When asking about a graduated income tax hike, with those making less than $75,000 seeing their taxes go up 1%, while those making over $75,000 would see a 3% hike, the opposition increased slightly with 56% opposed and 35% in support.
We honestly can’t think of a single ballot initiative in Colorado history that started at 36% support to 55% opposition that succeeded in the end.
In a still fragile economy, voters simply aren’t willing to hand over more cash to the government.
With Hickenlooper’s approval rating already underwater with independents, this certainly can’t help his political standing.