History of the death Penalty

Massachusetts was one of the first states to bring out the death penalty in colonial times however has since readjusted its approach. In beforehand times, hanging was the primary an approach of execution. Some defendants in the 1600’s were executed for spiritual affiliations.

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mar Dyer was simply one the the people executed because that affiliating through the Quaker religion and there to be dozens that individuals, both male and also female, executed because that witchcraft. In 1900, Massachusetts mounted an electric chair come be offered in fatality penalty cases. Electrocution was the many common type of execution in the commonwealth until capital punishment was abolished in 1984. After ~ the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in the state, governors, consisting of Mitt Romney, have tried to reinstate the fatality penalty. Make the efforts thus far have to be unsuccessful.

Famous Cases

John Billington, a colonist who landed on the Mayflower, was the very first person executed in Massachusetts, in 1630. He to be hung because that killing john Newcomen.

On April 15, 1920, two men, Frederick Parmenter and Alessandro Berardelli, were robbed and also murdered in Braintree, Massachusetts. The two guys charged through the murder, Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were Italian immigrants and also followers that Luigi Galleani, one Italian anarchist. Prior to Sacco and also Vanzetti to be tried for the murders, Vanzetti was tried and also convicted of a different robbery, regardless of the testimony that 16 witnesses who listed an alibi because that him. Hefty security was placed in place for the killing trial, because of fears that other anarchists might shot to bomb the courthouse. The beginning presented proof that one of the 4 bullets retrieved native Berardelli’s body matched a gun own by Sacco, despite witnesses testified that they saw one guy shoot Berardelli four times, saying that all 4 bullets should have come native the very same gun. Defense witnesses testified that they were having actually lunch through Sacco at the time of the robbery and also murder, and others stated that Vanzetti had been marketing fish at that time. As soon as Sacco and also Vanzetti were convicted that first-degree murder, a funding crime, demonstrations were organized in urban throughout Italy and also Latin America. Supporters thought that the men had actually been convicted because of their anarchist beliefs.

In 1925, Celestino Madeiros, an ex-convict awaiting trial because that a various murder, confessed to committing the Braintree murders. Lawyers for Sacco and Vanzetti presented an appeal come Massachusetts’ highest possible court, the can be fried Judicial Court, however it was denied. In denying the appeal, the court said, “It is not imperative that a brand-new trial it is in granted even though the evidence is newly uncovered and, if gift to a jury, would justify a different verdict.” In 1927, ~ the appeal had been denied, referee Webster Thayer sentenced the two guys to death. The branch denied clemency after ~ a the supervisory board he had actually formed declared that the trial had been fair. Madeiros (who had actually been convicted of a separate murder), Sacco, and also Vanzetti were all executed on august 23, 1927. The complying with day, protesters demonstrated about the world. Over 10,000 world in Boston regarded Sacco and also Vanzetti in open caskets over two days. Fifty year later, then-Governor Michael Dukakis declared August 23, 1977 Nicola Sacco and also Bartolomeo Vanzetti Memorial Day.

The last executions to take ar in Massachusetts to be Phillip Bellino and also Edward Gertson on might 9, 1947 for the murder of Robert William. Both defendants were electrocuted at Charlestown State Prison. Their executions inspired a board of directors to advice the fatality penalty in Massachusetts to recognize the effectiveness.

Milestones in Abolition/Reinstatement

After Furman v. Georgia, voter in the commonwealth passed an modification that permitted the fatality penalty in 1982. Under this brand-new amendment, the state can not “be interpreted as prohibiting the imposition that the penalty of death”. Later that same year, the legislature pass a invoice reinstating the fatality penalty for first-degree murder.

In Commonwealth v. Colon-Cruz (1984), the Massachusetts legislation that enabled capital punishment was ruled unconstitutional ~ above the grounds the it to be not used fairly, since only defendants who visited trial were eligible; this to exclude, defendants that plead guilty.

Other interesting Facts

Until 1951, any very first degree murder conviction compelled the fatality penalty. This readjusted to provide jury discretion on many murder cases. However, the fatality penalty to be still mandated in murders involving rape or check rape.

In total, there have actually been 345 executions in Massachusetts, consisting of 26 for witchcraft. Nineteen that those executed because that witchcraft were hanged in Salem in 1692 as a an outcome of the well known Salem Witch Trials.

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Sunset ~ above Cape cod Bay. Picture by PapaDunes via flickr.

News & Developments

United claims Supreme Court

Oct 14, 2021

Supreme Court Hears argument on room of Justice initiatives to Reinstate death Penalty in Boston Marathon battle Case

A United states Supreme Court sharply divid­ed along ide­o­log­i­cal lines heard dental argu­ment October 13, 2021 on the department of Justice’s very nice one of afed­er­al cir­cuit court’s rul­ing over­turn­ing the death sen­tences applied on