Connecticut is the fifth state in the last five years to repeal the death penalty. Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law on Wednesday abolishing the death penalty in his state.
"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," Malloy said in a statement.
He added that the "unworkability" of Connecticut's death penalty law was a contributing factor in his decision.
"In the last 52 years, only two people have been put to death in Connecticut -- and both of them volunteered for it," Malloy said. "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."
Capital punishment has been a law in Connecticut since colonial times, but reviews of the law began in 1972 when a Supreme Court decision required great consistency in its application.
Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 in 1972, was the U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled on the requirement for a degree of consistency in the application of the death penalty. The case led to a de facto moratorium on capital punishment in the U.S., which came to an end when Gregg v Georgia was decided in 1976.
The law goes into effect immediately in Connecticut where there are currently 11 people on Death Row. The law is effective immediately, though prospective in nature, meaning that it would not apply to those already sentenced to death. It replaces the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release as the state's highest form of punishment.
Repeal advocates cite instances where wrongful convictions have been overturned with improved investigative methods that include forensics like DNA testing.
· The death penalty system in the U.S. is applied in an unfair and unjust manner against people,largely dependent on how much money they have, the skill of their attorneys, race of the victim and where the crime took place. People of color are far more likely to be executed than white people, especially if the victim is white
· The death penalty is a waste of taxpayers money and has no public safety benefit. The vast majority of law enforcement professionals surveyed agree that capital punishment does not deter violent crime; a survey of police chiefs nationwide found they rank the death penalty lowest among ways to reduce violent crime. They ranked increasing the number of police officers, reducing drug abuse, and creating a better economy with more jobs higher than the death penalty as the best ways to reduce violence. The FBI has found the states with the death penalty have the highest murder rates.
· Innocent people are too often sentenced to death. Since 1973, more than138 people have been released from death rows in 26 states because of innocence. Nationally, at least one person is exonerated for every 10 that are executed.
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.