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 We are proud that our state has repealed the death penalty, and are confident that more states around the country will do the same.

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