Some good news today on the capital punishment front, as Connecticut’s state Supreme Court has ruled the state’s use of the death penalty to be unconstitutional.
After a sweeping two-year review, the state Supreme Court outlawed capital punishment in Connecticut Thursday, saying the state’s death penalty no longer comports with evolved societal values and serves no valid purpose as punishment.
The 4-3 decision would remove 11 convicts from Connecticut’s death row and overturn the latest iteration of the state’s death penalty, a political compromise effective April 2012 that halted executions going forward but allowed death sentences to be imposed on the inmates already sentenced.
The majority decision, written by Justice Richard N. Palmer, found flaws in the death penalty law, which banned “prospective” death sentences, those imposed after the effective date of the law. But the majority wrote that it chose to analyze capital punishment and impose abolition from a broad perspective.
After analysis of the law and “in light of the governing constitutional principles and Connecticut’s unique historical and legal landscape, we are persuaded that, following its prospective abolition, this state’s death penalty no longer comports with contemporary standards of decency and no longer serves any legitimate penological purpose,” Palmer wrote.
“”For these reasons, execution of those offenders who committed capital felonies prior to April 25, 2012, would violate the state constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.”
This is excellent news, given all the numerous examples of execution of innocent people, and people exonerated from death row based on DNA and other evidence. There’s just no way the death penalty can be justified anymore, and I’m glad that Connecticut realizes this.
Now if only we could get five SCOTUS votes on a ruling like this…