Connecticut Senate Poised to Vote on Death Penalty Repeal

The Connecticut Senate is expected to vote as early as Wednesday (April 4) on a bill to replace the death penalty with a sentence of life without parole. The bill, which would only affect future sentencing, passed the Judiciary Committee on March 21 and needs at least 18 votes to pass in the Senate. If it passes the Senate, it is considered likely to pass the House, and Governor Dannel Malloy has pledged to sign the bill into law. A similar bill passed the General Assembly in 2009, but was vetoed by then-Governor Jodi Rell. Murder victims’ families and friends are among the strongest supporters of the repeal. A letter signed by 179 Connecticut murder victims’ families stated, “Our direct experiences with the criminal justice system and struggling with grief have led us all to the same conclusion: Connecticut’s death penalty fails victims’ families…. In Connecticut, the death penalty is a false promise that goes unfulfilled, leaving victims’ families frustrated and angry after years of fighting the legal system. And as the state hangs onto this broken system, it wastes millions of dollars that could go toward much needed victims’ services.” If Connecticut repeals the death penalty, it will become the 5th state to do so in the past 5 years. Illinois, New Mexico, New Jersey, and New York have all abandoned the death penalty in recent years. Other states are also considering repeal of the death penalty, including California, where 800,000 signatures have been gathered to place the issue on the ballot in November.

(“Connecticut lawmakers likely to vote on death penalty,” Associated Press, April 3, 2012.) Read the full text of the bill. Read DPIC’s Press Release on the upcoming vote. See Connecticut and Recent Legislative Activity.