Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It is official, Connecticut has banned the dealth penalty.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has signed into law a bill banning the death penalty in Connecticut.  We posted about the proposed ban here.  Governor Malloy's statement said the signing should prompt "sober reflection, not celebration."

In my post on this topic, I noted that Connecticut has only executed one person since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.  Governor Malloy's statement points out that in the twelve years prior to Furman v. Georgia (the United States Supreme Court cases that led to a moratorium on the death penalty between 1972 and 1976), Connecticut also executed one person.  That is, Connecticut actually carried out the death penalty on two people in the last 52 years.  Apparently in both cases the prisoner dropped his appeals and requested execution.  Governor Malloy points to the fact that death penalty cases involve a lot of appeals as one of the reasons for abolishing the death penalty (as opposed to abolishing the appeals).  The governor also notes that the eleven men currently on death row in Connecticut (the new law does not repeal the death penalty for them) "are far more likely to die of old age than they are to be put to death."

To be fair, Governor Malloy also mentions moral opposition to the death penalty as well as concerns over putting an innocent person to death.  Both of these concerns are legitimate reasons to oppose the death penalty.  Is a lengthy appeals process on par with these other concerns?  I am skeptical.  After all, one would think that the length of the appeals process might help alleviate the concern over mistakenly putting an innocent person to death.

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