CNADP APPLAUDS SUPREME COURT ENDING CONNECTICUT’S DEATH PENALTY

Ruling Ends Costly and Ineffective Policy as More States Abandon the Death Penalty
 
Since its founding in 1986, the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty has supported complete repeal of Connecticut’s death penalty. CNADP welcomes today’s Connecticut Supreme Court ruling, which takes the prudent step of ending the state’s failed death penalty and the possibility of any future executions.
 
In response to a large coalition of Connecticut faith leaders, murder victims’ families, civil rights leaders, law enforcement experts, and legal scholars, the Connecticut General Assembly in 2012 took a significant step toward ending the state’s death penalty by repealing it prospectively. This legislation, however, left in place those already on Connecticut’s death row, and thus the remnants of a broken system. With death sentences still in effect, Connecticut continued to face some of the persistent problems plaguing capital punishment, such as its long and difficult appeals process and high costs.
 
Today’s ruling ensures that the state can move beyond this flawed policy. “I am deeply thankful for the Court’s ruling,” said Sr. Mary Healy of West Hartford. “As a clinical therapist and family of a murder victim, I’ve seen up close the devastating effects that the death penalty and its prolonged legal process can have on families already struggling with tragedy of losing a loved one. Throughout its history, the death penalty in Connecticut has failed murder victims’ families.”
 
Dr. Khalilah Brown-Dean of New Haven echoed this view: “The state took a step forward today by ending a policy marked by ineffectiveness and injustice. Troubling racial disparities proved to be an unavoidable aspect of Connecticut’s death penalty. Furthermore, for myself and dozens of other murder victims’ family members, we recognized that the death penalty did not help us. Moving forward, hopefully the state will focus on making sure murder victims’ families receive the support and services they need.”
 
As a result of today’s ruling, Connecticut will avoid the costs and challenges that other states have faced in trying to procure lethal injection drugs that increasingly are difficult to obtain. “From the perspective of law enforcement,” said Ridgefield Police Commissioner Dr. George Kain, “this ruling eliminates the distraction of the death penalty, allowing us to focus on measures that actual reduce crime. Fortunately, Connecticut will not follow the path of some other states in wasting time and taxpayer dollars in futile efforts to obtain lethal injection drugs or design other execution protocols.”
 
The Connecticut Supreme Court striking down the death penalty is part of a larger trend nationally against the practice. Seven states in the last decade have repealed the death penalty, including the red state of Nebraska earlier this year. Four other states have enacted moratoria on executions.

You’re invited to our 2014 Annual Meeting!

Friday, November 14, 2014
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
First Church of Christ Congregational
12 South Main St.
West Hartford, CT 06107

We are completing our first year after returning to our roots as an all-volunteer organization. Please join with fellow CNADP members at our annual meeting because you, our members, ARE the movement that repealed CT’s death penalty. Yet our work is not done. We remain vigilant against reinstatement attempts, and ready to do whatever we can to achieve complete abolition in our state and beyond.

Come and reconnect with old friends within the movement and meet new ones! We will present our new board of directors and program platform for approval, so your attendance is important.

We will present awards to Carol Rizzo, a longtime board member and treasurer of CNADP, as well as to Equal Justice USA, a partner organization which has given us extraordinary support and guidance over the years.

In lieu of a formal speaker, we will have an informal planning session to gather your ideas on how we can best implement our platform objectives during the coming year.

RSVP appreciated: Sheila@cnadp.org or 860-231-1489. Directions are available on the church website: http://www.whfirstchurch.org/about/directions/

Free parking is available in the lot behind the church (enter from Farmington Ave.), as well behind the Bank of America office at 4 North Main Street (enter from Farmington Avenue, across from the church lot.)  There is also reasonable and convenient parking in the Isham Public Garage.

Enter the church from the church parking lot, then follow signs to the Choir Room on the 2nd floor.

Hope to see you there!

CNADP’s Vision Moving Forward

Since Connecticut repealed the death penalty, many have asked, “What’s next? Is the CNADP going to stick around?” The answer is yes. In the months since repeal, the CNADP staff and board have discussed the organization’s vision moving forward. Repeal of the death penalty was a long sought goal of the CNADP, and it was thrilling to realize this victory. But still there is much work left to do. The following statement provides a summary of the organization’s vision and priorities moving forward in a post-repeal environment.

The CNADP is a statewide grassroots non-profit organization committed to educating the public on the realities of capital punishment, creating a state and nation free of the death penalty, supporting murder victims’ families, and working for reforms to reduce wrongful convictions.

Founded in 1986, the CNADP has grown into a strong network of individuals and organizations working to end capital punishment. Murder victims’ families, law enforcement officials, civil rights leaders, educators, students, people of faith, and others have united around the shared conviction that the death penalty is a poor public policy. The death penalty puts innocent lives at risk of being executed; is biased in its application against the poor, those with mental disabilities, and minorities; fails to deter crime; wastes millions in tax payer dollars; and harms murder victims’ families by prolonging the legal process. Capital punishment’s dismal record, even after decades of reforms, makes clear that there is only one way to fix it – end it.

April 25, 2012, was a historic day for the CNADP. On this day, Connecticut became the 17th state – and the fifth state in five years – to abandon capital punishment. This victory was the culmination of decades of education and advocacy by CNADP’s members, volunteers, and allied organizations. Due to their tireless work, Connecticut’s experiment with capital punishment finally was coming to an end.

The CNADP recognizes that its work is not finished. Connecticut banned the death penalty for future crimes, but kept in place those on Connecticut’s death row and the possibility of future executions. CNADP remains committed to the goal of a state entirely free of the death penalty. Furthermore, the CNADP will work to ensure that the death penalty is never reinstated. By repealing the death penalty, Connecticut has taken an important step forward in its criminal justice policy. We cannot return to the harmful and failed system of the past.

The CNADP has entered a stage in which it will expand the scope of its work, as it puts a greater focus on supporting murder victims’ families and reducing wrongful convictions. Throughout its history the CNADP has worked closely with murder victims’ families and the wrongfully convicted. In February 2012, 179 Connecticut murder victims’ family members called for repeal of the death penalty, citing how the legal process in capital cases inflicts additional harm on them. Those exonerated of crimes of rape and murder in Connecticut likewise spoke out against the death penalty, citing the risk it poses to the innocent. Repeal of the death penalty benefited these two groups by responding to their concerns.

Still, victims’ families and the wrongfully convicted continue to face challenges that need to be addressed. It is a priority of the CNADP to continue working closely murder victims’ families, the wrongfully convicted, and their advocates to support programs and policies that are responsive to their needs.

Finally, the CNADP understands that Connecticut’s repeal of the death penalty was part of a larger national trend. Growing awareness of the death penalty’s flaws has led more individuals across the nation to reject capital punishment. Connecticut experienced firsthand this momentum for repeal. We now have a responsibility to spread this momentum to other states. Toward this goal, the CNADP provides assistance and expertise to other state organizations working to repeal the death penalty.

April 25, 2012: Connecticut Becomes the 17th State to Abandon Capital Punishment!

Statement from CNADP:

Today with Governor Dannel Malloy’s signature of SB 280, Connecticut became the fifth state in five years to end the death penalty. Connecticut’s move is part of a growing trend across the country, as more states continue to repeal the death penalty and death sentences and executions decline nationwide.

During Connecticut’s debate on capital punishment, what clearly emerged was frustration with the state’s death penalty and agreement that the current system is broken. After conscientious review of the state’s death penalty, a bi-partisan majority of Connecticut legislators came to a conclusion that more legal experts, law enforcement officials, and murder victims’ families across the country are reaching: the only way to fix the death penalty is to end it.

Replacing the death penlaty with life in prison without release is a prudent step that will avoid the risk of executing the innocent, save the state millions of dollars, and put an end to lengthy capital cases that prove harmful to murder victims’ family members.

It is fitting that Connecticut will be first the state to repeal the death penalty since the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia last September, which raised doubts about capital punishment across the country. The NAACP and communities of color were leading voices both in calling for a stop to Davis’ execution and for repeal of Connecticut’s death penalty.

Davis’ execution highlighted the role that race continues to play in America’s death penalty, as Georgia executed a black man despite strong doubts concerning his guilt. Racial bias plagues Connecticut’s death penalty, too, as prosecutors are more likely to seek the death penalty when the victim is white than if the victim is a minority. Despite promises of reform, racial bias in the application of capital punishment stubbornly persists.

We deeply thank the Govenor and the Connecticut General Assembly for taking serious the problems inflicted by the death penalty and for taking action to end it. We are proud that our state has repealed the death penalty, and are confident that more states around the country will do the same.

Connecticut Repeals the Death Penalty!

On April 11, 2012, the House of Representatives passed the repeal bill 86-62, receiving bi-partisan support. To all the CNADP members and volunteers – some of whom have been advocating repeal for decades – THANK YOU. Because of your tireless efforts, the dream of repeal has become a reality in CT.

Here is some of the news coverage:
NY Times
Hartford Courant, featuring Sr Mary Healy
NBC Connecticut
Hartford Courant photo gallery
WTNH Channel 8
FoxCT (video)

 

April 10-11: Calling for Repeal in 2012!

After the victory in the Senate last week, community leaders, law enforcemnt, and family members of murder victims joined together in continuing the loud and growing call for repeal.

On April 10, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., and Police Chief Dean Esserman joined mother of a murder victim Victoria Coward in calling for repeal at the New Haven City Hall. Read about it here.

On April 11, a large group of leaders and repeal supporters gathered at the State Capitol before the House vote to urge our Representatives to vote YES on the repeal bill. Those in attendance included religious leaders, family members of murder victims, law enforcement, legislators, and amazing advocates that have been working toward repeal in Connecticut for over 20 years! Read about it here.

CT Senate passes repeal bill 20-16!

Early in the morning of April 5, the Connecticut Senate voted to pass SB 280, the bill to repeal the death penalty, by a margin of 20 to 16. Thank you to all our CNADP members, supporters, and family members of murder victims who stayed in the Senate Gallery until after 2am to show their support! It has been a long day/night/morning, but we are energized for the next step: On to the House!!

Click here to see the tally of how each senator voted.

Help us make sure that the House of Representatives takes us to the finish line-and that Governor Malloy has a bill to sign soon! Send and email to your local Representative using this link.

News coverage: Hartford Courant, CNN

 

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous joins Gov. Malloy in the call for repeal

On Thursday, March 29, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous visited Connecticut to advocate for repeal. He met with legislators and Governor Dannel P. Malloy, calling abolition of the death penalty a priority for the NAACP. Click here to read the Hartford Courant’s coverage of President Jealous’ visit. You can also read the testimony of Connecticut NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile from the Judiciary Committee’s March 14 public hearing on SB 280.

Contact your legislators NOW and urge them to vote for repeal!

SB 280, the bill to repeal the death penalty, could be considered by the Senate and the House soon. Now is the time to contact your legislators, urging them to vote in favor of SB 280! You can send them an email by clicking here.

Judiciary Committee Passes Repeal Bill 24-19!

On Wednesday, March 21, the Judiciary Committee voted to pass Senate Bill 280, the bill to repeal Connecticut’s death penalty! It could proceed to the Senate and the House in the next few weeks. Click here to contact your legislators, urging them to vote for repeal when SB 280 makes its way to the Senate and the House!