Connecticut has taken a step towards the light with this vote.
The DP as applied is wildly uneven-if you are poor, your chances of execution are excellent in comparison to someone who can afford effective legal counsel.
The DP is expensive-it costs 3 times as much to put someone away for life as it does to kill someone.
The DP is final-we’ve seen hundreds released from Death Row over the last few decades, making it a certainty that innocent people have been executed.
And last but certainly not least, the DP makes your community a MORE dangerous place to be. Murder statistics in DP states as opposed to non-DP states make it clear that the DP is no deterrent to murder. In fact, the stats would suggest that the DP makes murder MORE likely for you, the innocent person.
The only reason we still have a DP on the books is for the same reason we still have antigay ordinances, “voter fraud” laws, and other such abominations: the hateful Rushpubliscum Party, which is far more suited to the 14th century than it is the 20th.
Let’s get rid of the hate, because the hate is getting us nowhere. In fact, it’s costing us a lot of money, and, by all appearances, a lot of innocent lives, both inside and outside the prison.
The Connecticut Senate voted on Thursday to repeal the state’s death penalty, moving it one step closer to becoming the fifth U.S. state in five years to abandon capital punishment.
The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 20-16 to repeal the death penalty in an early morning vote after 10 hours of debate, and the measure now moves to the state House of Representatives, where it was seen as having strong support.
Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy has promised to sign the bill into law.
The measure would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. An amendment added on Tuesday provided that future felons, convicted of life sentences without parole, would be subject to the same harsh conditions as those inmates currently on Death Row.
“Does a moral society execute people?” asked Democratic state Senator Gayle Slossberg on the day of the vote. “Haven’t we then become the evil we’re trying to eliminate? I want my public policy to be better than me.”
But the bill to repeal the death penalty is “prospective,” meaning that it would only apply to future sentences. The 11 men currently on Connecticut’s Death Row would still face execution.
Several legal experts have said that despite the “prospective” wording, defense attorneys for current Death Row inmates could use the repeal measure to win life sentences for their clients.
Illinois, New Mexico and New Jersey have all voted to abolish the death penalty in recent years, while New York’s death penalty law was declared unconstitutional in 2004. That state’s legislature has repeatedly rejected attempts to reinstate capital punishment.
Other state legislatures are considering bills to abolish the death penalty as well, and Oregon’s governor has said he would allow no more executions on his watch.
“As significant concerns about executing the innocent, the high cost of the death penalty and its unfair application continue to grow, more states are turning to alternative punishments,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.
As well they should. And besides…. the DP is prima facie unconstitutional.
Since the DP does not deter violent crime, and does not save taxpayers any money (quite the opposite,) the only reason left for a DP being on the books is revenge. And there is no provision in the Federal Constitution (or the Constitutions of any State) for revenge.
It’s time to get rid of it once and for all.