Last week, the Connecticut House of Representatives voted 86-63 to repeal its state’s death penalty law. The state Senate passed the bill earlier in the week. Governor Dannel Malloy has promised to sign the bill making Connecticut the 17th state, and the 5th in the past 5 years, to repeal capital punishment. The bill is prospective in nature meaning that it will not affect the 11 prisoners currently on death row. Since the United States Supreme Court ruled in Gregg v. Georgia (1976) that the death penalty is constitutional, Connecticut has handed down 15 death sentences but has only executed one defendant.
In Pennsylvania, our legislature revived the death penalty law in 1978, which still remains in effect today, having been upheld in several U.S. Supreme Court appeals. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Pennsylvania currently has 211 prisoners on death row (4th highest in the U.S.), but only has executed 3 prisoners since 1974 (counting both under the old and new death-penalty law), with the last execution occurring in 1999. As we all know, regardless of how little defendants are actually executed, criminal lawyers fight long and hard to keep their clients alive.
To read more about Connecticut’s death penalty repeal, click here.
For more information on the Death Penalty Information Center, click here.