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Associated PressAssociated PressDecember 8, 201714min543

FARGO, North Dakota — Maria Modi's journey from South Sudan to a new life in Fargo included a stop at a refugee camp in Cairo. She and her seven siblings know what it is like to be hungry. "My mother and father work 12-hour shifts and still sometimes we don't get enough food at home to last us a week," said Modi, a Fargo North High School senior who plans to study music and theater in college next year.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicFebruary 23, 201716min430

Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman’s death penalty repeal bill was voted down by Republicans in committee last Wednesday, just as she expected. Speaking before the hearing, Guzman said she hoped mainly that the bill would foster heartfelt conversation on the issue. “It was not to be,” she said. She thinks she might have pulled off the repeal if Democrats in November had won a majority in the state Senate, but Republicans maintained the majority by one vote. She shrugged. “Maybe it’s the conversation that’s important, going through all these steps together. I think that’s a good legacy.” Guzman, a Denver Democrat, arrived at the Senate as an appointee in 2010, filling the District 34 seat vacated by Paula Sandoval. Guzman is term limited and has only one more session to serve at the Capitol. She is also a minister with a degree from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver — and that’s the part of her background that seems closest to surface when she talks about capital punishment.



Peter MarcusPeter MarcusFebruary 16, 20178min273
An effort to eliminate the death penalty in Colorado was rejected by a legislative committee Wednesday night after an emotional hearing. The effort from Senate Democratic Leader Lucia Guzman failed on a party-line vote, with Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the proposal. The hearing included tearjerking testimony from people who lost loved ones […]

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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusFebruary 15, 20175min339
Sen. Rhonda Fields, a Democrat who supports the death penalty, will not be sitting on a committee Wednesday when a repeal proposal comes back to the legislature. Fields said she does not want to be a voice in the middle of the debate as the Senate Judiciary Committee discusses a proposal to eliminate capital punishment […]

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Mario NicolaisMario NicolaisJanuary 20, 20177min348

Dylann Roof is set to die. A federal jury recently sentenced the unapologetic mass-murderer to the death penalty. More than any other individual, his case brings the contrast between political positions on capital punishment to a head. Roof’s sentence draws a clear distinction between pure death penalty opponents and anyone who struggles with the issue. I find myself in the latter camp; I am not an anti-death penalty purist. My concerns about use of the death penalty span a broad range of arguments. Both empirical data and anecdotal stories demonstrate that the death penalty has been imposed against innocent people. Statistical analysis suggests that the death penalty is not effective as a deterrent; it is only punitive in nature. And then there is the moral question. I am a Christian and believe in the miracle of life. Ending the life of another human being will always conflict with that belief.


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Mario NicolaisMario NicolaisDecember 19, 20166min361

Every law school student loves to argue. Most see shadows of Gregory Peck or Spencer Tracy in their mirrors. And, in my law school experience, nothing brought about an argument as fast and as fierce as the death penalty. Stakes cannot be greater or an outcome more final. I even remember former Illinois Gov. George Ryan speaking at our school after he reignited the political debate over the death penalty by declaring a moratorium in 2000. A decade after leaving law school, I find myself drawn to the subject again for two reasons. First, I’m a die-hard fan of the cult television series "Rectify," which just aired its series finale.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicFebruary 11, 20167min447
The Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee voted down a bill Wednesday that would have made it less difficult for juries to deliver the death sentence in Colorado. Opponents of the bill who packed the hearing room celebrated the committee’s decision and the swing vote cast by Chairperson Ellen Roberts, a Republican from Durango. “I was dumbfounded […]

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