With his signature, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law the repeal of Connecticut’s death penalty, making his state the 17th, and the 5th in the last 5 years, to do away with capital punishment. The law is not retroactive, so 11 men remain on Connecticut’s death row.
It is surely a sign of progress for the death penalty abolition movement that such a success could occur in the midst of contentious and escalating election year politics. Previous legislative repeal victories have occurred during the more sedate odd-numbered years (New Jersey, 2007; New Mexico, 2009, Illinois, 2011).
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The Connecticut House of Representatives, by a vote of 86-62, has approved the bill abolishing that state’s death penalty. It will now go to Governor Dannel P. Malloy for his signature.
With Connecticut set to join, there will soon be 17 states (plus Washington, D.C.) in the abolitionist club. Five years ago, there were only 12.
And other states seem likely to follow in the near future. Maryland already has a majority in its legislature that supports repeal. Oregon now has a Governor-imposed moratorium on executions. Montana and Colorado, with just two and four people on their respective death rows, have been close to ending their death penalties in recent years. New Hampshire and Kansas have had no executions since 1939 and 1965 respectively. And in California, some 800,000 citizens have endorsed a November 2012 ballot initiative that would replace their state’s incredibly expensive death penalty.
Governor Malloy is expected to sign Connecticut’s bill into law soon.