Connecticut lawmakers on Friday officially killed the death penalty in the state. Under the states new rules of law life without the possibility of parole replaces lethal injection as the most severe crime a person can receive.
The bill was signed into law this morning by Governor Dan Malloy, making Connecticut the 17th state to do away with the punishment of death and the fifth state in just five years to end the practice.
For the 11 men already serving time on death row the law does not include a grandfather clause which means they will still be sentenced to death once all appeals have been exhausted. Two of those men are the very same criminals who murdered the daughters and wife of Dr. William Petit. You may recall that it was Petit who urged lawmakers to delay the death sentence repeal law until both of those men were found guilty and sentenced to death.
While 11 men now sit on Connecticut’s death row the state has only executed one man since 1960.
Speaking about why he changed from a position of support to opposition regarding the death penalty Mr. Malloy told Time that he has recently witnessed various flaws and injustices in the system, adding:
“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 imposed. Malloy then said that repealing the death penalty was a “moment for sober reflection, not celebration.”
The next state considering a repeal of the death penalty is California, voters will decide on that measure via the November 2012 ballot. California lawmakers argue that the infrastructure needed to support the death penalty is costing the state millions of dollars to support each year with very few executions actually being carried out.