POLL: Malloy Signs Legislation to Replace Death Penalty with Life in Prison

Malloy said the situation calls for sober reflection, not celebration.


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy released the following Wednesday, April 25, statement after signing S.B. 280, An Act Revising the Penalty for Capital Felonies:

"This afternoon I signed legislation that will, effective today, replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release as the highest form of legal punishment in Connecticut.

Although it is an historic moment — Connecticut joins 16 other states and the rest of the industrialized world by taking this action — it is a moment for sober reflection, not celebration.

Many of us who have advocated for this position over the years have said there is a moral component to our opposition to the death penalty. For me, that is certainly the case.  But that does not mean – nor should it mean — that we question the morality of those who favor capital punishment. I certainly don’t.  I know many people whom I deeply respect, including friends and family, that believe the death penalty is just.  In fact, the issue knows no boundaries: not political party, not gender, age, race, or any other demographic.  It is, at once, one of the most compelling and vexing issues of our time.

My position on the appropriateness of the death penalty in our criminal justice system evolved over a long period of time.  As a young man, I was a death penalty supporter.  Then I spent years as a prosecutor and pursued dangerous felons in court, including murderers.  In the trenches of a criminal courtroom, I learned firsthand that our system of justice is very imperfect.

While it’s a good system designed with the highest ideals of our democratic society in mind, like most of human experience, it is subject to the fallibility of those who participate in it.  I saw people who were poorly served by their counsel.  I saw people wrongly accused or mistakenly identified.  I saw discrimination.  In bearing witness to those things, I came to believe that doing away with the death penalty was the only way to ensure it would not be unfairly imposed.

Another factor that led me to today is the ‘unworkability’ of Connecticut’s death penalty law.  In the last 52 years, only 2 people have been put to death in Connecticut — and both of them volunteered for it.  Instead, the people of this state pay for appeal after appeal, and then watch time and again as defendants are marched in front of the cameras, giving them a platform of public attention they don’t deserve. It is sordid attention that rips open never-quite-healed wounds.  The 11 men currently on death row in Connecticut are far more likely to die of old age than they are to be put to death.

As in past years, the campaign to abolish the death penalty in Connecticut has been led by dozens of family members of murder victims, and some of them were present as I signed this legislation today.   In the words of one such survivor: ‘Now is the time to start the process of healing, a process that could have been started decades earlier with the finality of a life sentence. We cannot afford to put on hold the lives of these secondary victims.  We need to allow them to find a way as early as possible to begin to live again.’  Perhaps that is the most compelling message of all.

As our state moves beyond this divisive debate, I hope we can all redouble our efforts and common work to improve the fairness and integrity of our criminal justice system, and to minimize its fallibility."

Sean M April 25, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Utterly disgusting. Shows how weak Democrats are on crime.
Jaimie Cura April 26, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Comment from the Facebook page: Greg Madden: "we are not the Source and therefore should not be deciding who lives or not... but when Cheshire like situations happen my human side overwhelms my spiritual self BIG TIME!!!" https://www.facebook.com/WoodMiddPatch
Marilyn Caldero April 26, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Charles Manson proves the death penalty is unnecessary. He will never be free. California, the poster child for tough-on-crime gone wrong and nearly bankrupting the state, waste millions of dollars on the death penalty. It is not just for economic reasons that the death penalty must be eleminated. Many people are being exeronerated after decades in prison, and some (149) even from death row, because DNA and other reasons show they are innocent. In one New Orleans case the prosecutors hid the fact that blood at the crime scene did not match the blood type of the man they convicted. He was weeks away from execution at one point. It is still legal in some areas for prosecutors to hide evidence that shows someone is innocent. 'Makes you wonder how many innocent people the states have killed. When the states kill or locks up the wrong person, the guilty person is free to committ new crime. And of course, it is better to let a guilty person go unpunished than to kill or lock up an innocent person.
Shirley B. Backus April 29, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Russell Peeler proves the death penalty is necessary. He ordered the murder of a witness and her young son from his jail cell! Prisoners have escaped to wreak havoc again. With today's DNA and other forensics, it is less likely that an innocent person will be convicted. How can anybody honestly believe that it is more costly to execute somebody than to keep a fiend in prison for life? Have they calculated all the meals, clothing, entertainment and medical costs? Have they figured in the cost of utilities and guards? If these demons are allowed to live, they should live like the homeless do (though locked up of course) in cardboard boxes with discarded newspapers for blankets, or relying on donations from concerned citizens like Marilyn Caldero for clothes and blankets. Meals should be minimal with no treats. Why should they live better than the innocent homeless do? Without the death penalty, homeless people could deliberately commit murder just to get off the street and live with a roof over their heads, free meals, clothes and entertainment, etc. The only way to ensure public safety is to utilize capital punishment. The only reason it was repealed was sheer laziness on our politicians' parts. It was much easier to vote once to repeal it than it was to decide how many appeals are too many, and how many years the demons were allowed to live on death row. Give me politicians that are willing to work harder for public safety!


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