‘The Moral High Ground’: Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy Signs Bill Abolishing Death Penalty
Connecticut today joined 16 US states the rest of the Western world in abolishing capital punishment as the state’s governor signed a bill repealing the death penalty.
TheDay.com reports that Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law that ends executions in the Constitution State. The 11 inmates currently on death row are exempt from the new law. From now on, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole will be the harshest penalty convicted murderers can face.
Gov. Malloy signed the bill in a low-key ceremony attended by some family members of murder victims.
“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,” the governor said in a statement.
Malloy described the evolution of his position regarding capital punishment.
“As a young man, I was a death penalty supporter,” he said. “Then I spent years as a prosecutor and pursued dangerous felons in court, including murderers. In the trenches of a criminal courtroom, I learned firsthand that our system of justice is very imperfect.”
“While it’s a good system designed with the highest ideals of our democratic society in mind, like most of human experience, it is subject to the fallibility of those who participate in it. I saw people who were poorly served by their counsel. I saw people wrongly accused or mistakenly identified. I saw discrimination. In bearing witness to those things, I came to believe that doing away with the death penalty was the only way to ensure it would not be unfairly imposed.”
The abolition of Connecticut’s death penalty is also seen as a money saver. According to the Huffington Post, the state has been paying about $5 million annually maintaining its seldom-used death penalty system. Only one person– serial rapist and murderer Michael Ross– has been executed since the 1960s. Repeal is expected to save Connecticut taxpayers some $850,000 per year, with that number increasing to $5 million annually in the future.
“With Governor Malloy’s action, Connecticut joins sixteen other states that have already concluded that the death penalty is too risky, too expensive, and too arbitrary to continue,” Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, an anti-execution group, told the Huffington Post. “By replacing the death penalty with a sentence of life without parole, Connecticut officials have reduced the risk of executing the innocent and freed up taxpayer dollars for other programs that prevent crime more effectively and better serve victims’ families.”
Echoing the money-saving argument, death penalty advocates in California have succeeded in getting an abolition measure on this November’s ballot.
Connecticut now joins 16 states and the District of Columbia in rejecting capital punishment. The United States, however, remains one of the world’s most prolific capital punishers, with only Yemen, North Korea, Iran and China executing more people.
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