The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles family members of murder victims who are divided in their opinions about the contentious issue of the death penalty, and old debate heating up again in Wisconsin. On the November ballot, voters will be able to address the issue in a non-binding referendum question: “Should the death penalty be enacted in the State of Wisconsin for cases involving a person who is convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, if the conviction is supported by DNA evidence?”
Wisconsin has not had the death penalty since the 1850s. Polls show that Wisconsin residents tend to support bringing it back. If the referendum passes and if Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Green is elected, a proposal to allow the death sentence likely will be taken up by the legislature. If Gov. Jim Doyle is re-elected, the issue probably would not be taken up since Doyle is likely to veto such a bill.