Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy
A new law in Connecticut ends the state’s death penalty for future crimes, making Connecticut the 17th state, plus the District of Columbia, to abolish capital punishment. The law establishes life in prison without parole as the highest punishment in Connecticut, though it does not apply to the 11 men currently on death row there, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the bill surrounded by supporters, including some family members of murder victims. The signing came as a new Quinnipiac University Poll showed that 62 percent of registered voters in Connecticut favor the death penalty for convicted murderers. But in the same poll respondents split, 46 percent to 46 percent, when asked whether they preferred the death penalty or life without parole for convicted murderers.
Connecticut has executed only one person in more than half a century. Serial killer Michael Ross volunteered for lethal injection in 2005.
The Quinnipiac poll showed that a majority of registered voters disapprove of how both Malloy, a Democrat, and the Democratic-controlled state legislature handled the issue. Republican state Rep. Al Adinolfi said repealing the death penalty showed sympathy for murderers, rather than victims and their families. He said he would try to reinstate the death penalty.
Malloy is a former prosecutor who used to support the death penalty. But he said his views changed as he watched defendants who had poor legal representation, were wrongly accused or discriminated against. “I came to believe that doing away with the death penalty was the only way to ensure it would not be unfairly imposed,” he said in a written statement.