Connecticut made history today as Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law abolishing the death penalty. Connecticut is now the 17th state in the nation to abandon capital punishment and the fifth state in as many years to bring a repeal.
“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,” Malloy said in a statement. The fact that capital punishment is effectively “unworkable” was a big driving part of his decision. “In the last 52 years, 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 law is effective immediately, but it does not apply retroactively to those already sentenced to death. Instead it replaces the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release as the state’s toughest criminal sentence.
The state currently has 11 people on death row.
In the last five years, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Illinois have repealed the death penalty and California voters will decide the issue in November.
Photo from pikerslanefarm via flickr.