Death penalty on the docket at FreedomFest in Las Vegas


(The Center Square) – The death penalty will be a topic of discussion at the upcoming FreedomFest in Las Vegas.

Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (CCATDP) will share its thoughts during panel this Friday called “Executing Doesn’t Heal: Impacted Voices Against the Death Penalty.”

Panelists include Mark Bettencourt, executive director of Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Cynthia Portaro, a Las Vegas mother of a murder victim, and James Allen, Jr, a former Nevada death row inmate.

Nicholas Cote, CCATDP’s Western Regional Organizer, will serve as moderator. Cote said in a press release that “conservative libertarians are increasingly questioning the death penalty,” as well as other “failed” policies in our criminal justice system.

“Our panel discussion will shed light on why the death penalty does nothing to make us safer,” said Cote, whose organization traces its roots to Montana but is a national network of conservative Republicans and libertarians. “It will also address why the system needs to focus on healing and accountability, and not solely on punishment, so that we can ultimately build real community safety.”

Friday’s panel discussion is scheduled to run from 2:30 – 3:15 p.m. PDT.

Approximately 21 states still have a death penalty on the books. Twenty-three states do not have a death penalty. The six remaining states view it as legal, but Forbes reports that they have prohibitions in place via executive orders from the governor or the attorney general of the state, which has put a temporary halt on the procedure.

Public opinions on the death penalty vary depending on the questions. For example, Gallup found 53% of people favor the death penalty in October 2023 for a person convicted of murder. That’s down from 56% in 2019 and 63% in 2014. It was 80% in 1994. Meanwhile, 23% of people polled by Gallup said in October 2023 that the death penalty is too often imposed compared to 24% in 2014.

FreedomFest runs July 10-13 at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas. FreedomFest began in 2007. Past speakers include tv news personality Kennedy, Forbes Magazine CEO Steve Forbes, Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank, former U.S. Representative and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard and economist Stephen Moore.

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