CONNECTICUT (USA): GOVERNOR MALLOY SIGNS DEATH PENALTY REPEAL
April 25, 2012: Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law a bill that replaces the death penalty with life without parole. Connecticut is the fifth state in five years, and the 17th overall, to do away with capital punishment.
Governor Malloy, who once supported the death penalty, offered the following statement: âMy position on the appropriateness of the death penalty in our criminal justice system evolved over a long period of time. As a young man, I was a death penalty supporter. Then I spent years as a prosecutor and pursued dangerous felons in court, including murderers. In the trenches of a criminal courtroom, I learned firsthand that our system of justice is very imperfect. While itâs a good system designed with the highest ideals of our democratic society in mind, like most of human experience, it is subject to the fallibility of those who participate in it. I saw people who were poorly served by their counsel. I saw people wrongly accused or mistakenly identified. I saw discrimination. In bearing witness to those things, I came to believe that doing away with the death penalty was the only way to ensure it would not be unfairly imposedâ.
âAnother factor that led me to today is the âunworkabilityâ of Connecticutâs death penalty law. In the last 52 years, only 2 people have been put to death in Connecticut â and both of them volunteered for it. Instead, the people of this state pay for appeal after appeal". âAs in past years, the campaign to abolish the death penalty in Connecticut has been led by dozens of family members of murder victims, and some of them were present as I signed this legislation today. In the words of one such survivor: âNow is the time to start the process of healing, a process that could have been started decades earlier with the finality of a life sentence. We cannot afford to put on hold the lives of these secondary victims. We need to allow them to find a way as early as possible to begin to live again.â Perhaps that is the most compelling message of all.
âAs 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.â Connecticut's repeal of capital punishment is in line with a growing national trend toward alternatives to the death penalty and an increased awareness that it is not serving murder victims' families. The bill gained the support of over 179 victimsâ families and friends, who believe the stateâs capital punishment statute does not provide the promised âclosureâ after the loss of a loved one.
Since 1976, the state has carried out only one execution. The death penalty repeal bill is prospective and will not affect the sentences of the 11 inmates currently on the stateâs death row. (Sources: NBC News, Hartford Courant, 25/04/2012)