Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law Wednesday that effectively repealed capital punishment in the state, according to CNN.
This makes Connecticut the 17th state nationally, and 5th within the past 5 years, to abolish the death penalty.
The law is effective immediately.
Yet, it will not be applied retroactively, meaning that it will not apply to those currently on death row.
As a result , life in prison without the possibility of parole is now the state's most severe form of punishment.
"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 also said that the "unworkability" of Connecticut's death penalty law held force on his ultimate decision to sign the bill.
"In the last 52 years, only two people have been put to death in Connecticut -- and both of them volunteered for it," he 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."
Earlier in April, the bill was passed by the state Senate. A week later the state's House of Representatives passed it by a vote of 86 to 63.
Since the US Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty in 1976, Connecticut juries have handed down only 15 death sentences. And, only 1 of those 15 has actually been executed, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Michael Ross, a convicted serial killer, was executed by lethal injection in 2005 when he voluntarily abandoned pursuit of the appeals process.
The state currently has 11 people on death row.
The general consensus for those who advocate the repeal of capital punishment is that it strains government resources (taxpayer dollars) through a lengthy appeals process.
Advocates also rest on the fact that there have been many wrongful convictions overturned via improved technology, such as DNA forensics testing.
By contrast, those that are pro-death penalty stick by their contention that capital punishment has historically been used to deter criminals and that it offers retribution to the victim's families and friends.
In the last 5 years, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Illinois have repealed the death penalty.
Additionally, the death penalty will be on the November ballot in California, which currently has the highest number of prisoners on death row in the country.
As the number of states that abolish the death penalty grows it make me wonder whether it may be a subject of re-visitation for the Supreme Court in the near future.
What do you think?
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