Connecticut may be the latest state to repeal the death penalty


death penalty chamberoriginally by: CNN.com
published: 5 April 2012

The Connecticut Senate on Thursday voted to repeal the death penalty, setting the stage for Connecticut to join several states that have recently abolished capital punishment.

In the last five years, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Illinois have repealed the death penalty. California voters will decide the issue in November.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, where it is also expected to pass. Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, has vowed to sign the measure into law should it reach his desk, his office said.

“For everyone, it’s a vote of conscience,” said Senate President Donald Williams Jr., a Democrat who says he’s long supported a repeal. “We have a majority of legislators in Connecticut in favor of this so that the energies of our criminal justice system can be focused in a more appropriate manner.”

In 2009, state lawmakers in both houses tried to pass a similar bill, but were ultimately blocked by then-Gov. Jodi Rell, a Republican.

Capital punishment has existed in Connecticut since its colonial days. But the state was forced to review its death penalty laws beginning in 1972 when a Supreme Court decision required greater consistency in its application. A moratorium was then imposed until a 1976 court decision upheld the constitutionality of capital punishment.

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