Connecticut becomes 17th state to abolish death penalty
(CNN) — Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a
bill into law Wednesday that abolishes the death penalty, making his
state the 17th in the nation to abandon capital punishment and the fifth
in five years to usher in a repeal.
immediately, though prospective in nature, meaning that it would not
apply to those already sentenced to death. It replaces the death penalty
with life in prison without the possibility of release as the state’s
highest form of punishment.
historic moment — Connecticut joins 16 other states and the rest of the
industrialized world by taking this action — it is a moment for sober
reflection, not celebration,” Malloy said in a statement.
only two people have been put to death in Connecticut — and both of
them volunteered for it,” Malloy said. “Instead, the people of this
state pay for appeal after appeal, and then watch time and again as
defendants are marched in front of the cameras, giving them a platform
of public attention they don’t deserve.”
the state’s House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 86 to
63. The state Senate had approved it a week before.
existed in the Nutmeg State since its colonial days. But it was forced
to review its death penalty laws beginning in 1972, when a Supreme Court
decision required greater consistency in its application.
juries have handed down 15 death sentences. Of those, only one person
has been executed, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a
nonpartisan group that studies death penalty laws.
say that Connecticut’s past law kept inmates — who were often engaged
in multiple appeals — on death row for extended periods of time,
costing taxpayers far more than if the convicts were serving a life
sentence in the general prison population.
instances in which wrongful convictions have been overturned with new
investigative methods, including forensic testing.
had said that capital punishment is a criminal deterrent that offers
justice for victims and their families.
New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Illinois have repealed the death
penalty. California voters will decide the issue in November.