Virginia is 23rd US state to ban death penalty

Virginia has become the 23rd state to ban the death penalty.

The state, which has the second highest number of executions, saw the legislation signed by Governor Ralph Northam on Wednesday.

The decision comes after the Democratic majority won the debate in February which saw the Senate and House of Delegates passing the bill to end capital punishment.

Northam, a Democrat, stated at the signing, “There is no place today for the death penalty in this commonwealth, in the South or in this nation.”

He said the death penalty has been disproportionately applied to black people and is the product of a flawed judicial system that doesn’t always get it right.

Virginia has carried out 113 executions since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Since 1973, over 170 people have been released from death row, stated Northam, after evidence of their innocence was found.