Connecticut repeals death penalty

Thursday, April 26, 2012

In the United States, the state of Connecticut has repealed the death penalty, becoming the seventeenth state in the U.S. to do so. The state's governor Dannel Malloy signed the repeal into law on Wednesday and is to take effect immediately.

"This afternoon I signed legislation that will, effective today, replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release as the highest form of legal punishment in Connecticut. Although it is an 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," said Malloy in a written statement on his website.

In future convictions, the death penalty will be replaced with life imprisonment with no possibility of parole. However, despite the state's decision, prisoners currently serving a death row sentence are still set to be executed as planned. Currently in Connecticut, eleven prisoners are serving a death row sentence, all of them men. The repeal bill was passed in the state's house of representatives with 86 supporting the measure and 63 opposing it. The senate had passed the measure just seven days before.

Jodi Rell, then Connecticut's governor, blocked a prior attempt at repeal by state lawmakers in 2009.

Only one person in Connecticut has been executed since 1976, when the U.S. government reinstated the death penalty after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld capital punishment. That execution of serial killer Michael Bruce Ross occurred in 2005 by lethal injection.

"As our state moves beyond this divisive debate, I hope we can all redouble our efforts and common work to improve the fairness and integrity of our criminal justice system, and to minimize its fallibility," added Malloy.