Overcoming a major hurdle, death penalty repeal in Connecticut has passed in the state Senate by a vote of 20-16. The bill, with the endorsement of 179 murder victim family members, would remove the death penalty as an option for all future crimes. It now goes to the House and, if it passes there, to Governor Dannel P. Malloy, who has said he will sign it.
Connecticut would become the 17th state to abolish the death penalty, meaning that more than one-third of U.S. states would no longer have capital punishment. Connecticut would also be the 5th state in 5 years to get rid of the death penalty. In 2007, New York’s last death sentence was commuted, officially ending that state’s association with capital punishment. In December 2007, New Jersey legislatively repealed its death penalty. New Mexico did likewise in 2009, and Illinois in 2011.
As Amnesty International reported in March, two-thirds of the world’s countries no longer use capital punishment. This vote in Connecticut is yet one more sign that the death penalty, both around the world and here in the U.S., is on its way out.