NEW VOICES: Families of Victims Call for End to Death Penalty in Connecticut

On February 9, more than two dozen families of murder victims came to the Connecticut Capitol complex to urge lawmakers to repeal the death penalty because of its negative impact on families of murder victims. Seventy-six family members of murder victims signed a letter urging lawmakers to end the death penalty. Gail Canzano, whose brother-in-law was murdered in 1999, said, “The death penalty ensnares people in the criminal justice system where mandatory appeals, constitutional challenges and never-ending media attention result in notoriety for the murderer and years of suffering and uncertainty for the families left behind.” Others cited the death penalty’s financial and emotional costs as a significant reason for repeal. The letter to Connecticut lawmakers read, “The death penalty is a false promise that goes unfulfilled. And as the state hangs on to this broken system, it wastes millions of dollars that could go toward much-needed victims’ services.” The state legislature is considering a repeal bill, and a judiciary committee hearing will be held in mid-March.

In 2009, the General Assembly passed a repeal bill, but it was vetoed by then-Govenor M. Jodi Rell. The current governor, Dannel P. Malloy, has said that he would sign such a bill.

(D. Altimari, “Victims’ Family Members Want Capital Punishment Repealed,” The Hartford Courant, February 9, 2011). See Victims and Recent Legislative Activity.