Death Penalty Vote Likely Tomorrow; Sen. Prague Set To Back Repeal Bill

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State Sen. Edith Prague will vote in favor of a bill to repeal Connecticut\’s death penalty, but the intentions of two other key senators remain unknown.

Sens. Joseph Crisco, D-Woodbridge, and Carlo Leone, D-Stamford, have not publicly stated how they intend to vote. Calls seeking comment from both lawmakers have yet to be returned.

The state Senate is poised to debate the bill during Wednesday\’s session, according to a story in the Connecticut Mirror.

Those advocating an end to capital punishment in Connecticut say Senate leaders would not call the bill unless their was sufficient support for its passage. The measure would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release.

Prague, a Democrat from Columbia, had long been a supporter of the death penalty. But in 2009, the last time it came up for a vote in the chamber, she changed her vote to support the repeal effort.

Then last year, Prague switched again, citing a brutal home invasion in Cheshire. The trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky, one of the two men charged with killing three members of the Petit family was playing out last spring, when lawmakers were pondering the bill. He has since been convicted and sentenced to death, as has Steven Hayes, who was also charged in the case.

Prague\’s spokesman, Laurence Grotheer, said this morning the senator would only vote in favor of a repeal bill if she was sure it would be \”prospective\” in nature–that is, it would only apply to future cases and the 11 men currently on death row would still face execution.

But Senate Minority Leader John McKinney said the fate of the death penalty in the state would be murky, at best, should a repeal bill pass.

\”Sen. Prague said she would not vote to repeal unless she was certain that the existing members of death row would still be subject to the death penalty,\’\’ said McKinney, R-Fairfield and a supporter of the death penalty, \”so I\’m disappointed she would vote to repeal…Those who have taken the stance that bill is prospective only have done so for their own political reasons.\”

A bill repealing capital punishment cleared both the Senate and the House of Representatives in 2009, but was vetoed by then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Her replacement, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, has said he will sign a bill that is prospective in nature.

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14 thoughts on “Death Penalty Vote Likely Tomorrow; Sen. Prague Set To Back Repeal Bill

  1. Bryan

    Well done Connecticut, see it through and be done with this barbaric madness. No civilized society advocates murder.

  2. Rosemary

    I agree with Bryan. Unfortunately all the publicity given to the Cheshire home invasion has affected people’s judgement. What the two men did is definitely wrong, but killing should only be done in self defense. I believe that life in prison without possibility of parole is better. Have the prisoners do some work that is useful to society instead.

    1. Anne

      Rosemary, read your own words. “killing should only be done in self defense” These men KILLED for money or for kicks. And you want to protect them? These people will never be fit to live in society again. Not the ‘people’ who commit the crimes that deserve a death row life. Wake up please. Without the death Penalty your love oned could be next without the appropriate order in our society.

  3. George Simpson

    The death penalty makes no sense. Killing is wrong. You killed therefore we kill you. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Vengeance brings nothing and you can’t teach a dead man anything. The death penalty makes no sense.

  4. Hot Dam

    Why is it that the polls still show a majority of Connecticut residents FAVOR the death penalty, but the Legislature is running contrary to the will of the majority and the Courant seems to be only interested in publicizing the efforts and opinions of the minority of whackos ?

    1. Lost in CT

      If it pass’s, I bet the murder rates increase, as they only fear will be life in prison.

  5. Lyme Resident

    Senator Edith Prague, like Senator Andrew Maynard, is two-faced. Both looked Dr. William Petit in the eye and agreed to not back the death penalty repeal. What has changed? Does she think a Cheshire-like home invasion and multiple murder cannot happen again? It is time for Senator Prague to retire.

  6. Tom in Waterbury

    Hailing from Waterbury (the death penalty capital of CT) and being an attorney as well, I have always opposed the death penalty in every instance. I hardly would describe myself as a “whacko” either. A majority of citizens may feel this is an appropriate punishment, however, once you delve into the particualrs of its arbitrary administration, th endless appeals, the financial costs, the unending re-opening of wounds of the victims’ families, and the need to protect society permanently from “the worst of the worst”, the death penalty is a barbaric, archaic and senseless drain on the survivors & the judical system. End this practice now and let the killers rot in jail for the rest of their lives. Public crys for retribution and a “hang em high” mentality fails to carefully weigh the pros & cons of the issue.

  7. Palin Smith

    Connecticut is flush with cash. The state treasury is over-flowing with easy money. Let’s pay whatever it takes keep the worst scum on planet earth living in comfort.

    The bleeding hearts who support repeal should be mandated to host sleepovers for these bums at their homes every other weekend!

  8. Bob Hebee

    We spent millions of State dollars on trials and appeals to put these turds on Death Row. Now we will spend millions more defending (and prosecuting) the 11 on their death penalty appeals. If it is not legal to kill a future Cheshire Killer, it is unconstitutional to kill the two that were already convicted. Their sentence is no longer legal in Connecticut. Edith is a joke. She ran for office one year as a death penalty supporter, then supported a repeal and now it’s; “Kill the 2 Cheshire turds but let the future Cheshire-like killers live”. Edith, it is time to go home and watch Wheel of Fortune reruns. Your time has passed.

  9. Steverino

    No one on any side of the issue of capital punishment / life in prison without the possibility of parole can claim to have a clear majority of support. And, Edith Prague has made her personal feelings perfectly clear. Those who seek to gain politically over capital punishment are abusing the most primitive emotions in people. Many Republicans seeking election to the General Assembly in 2010 sent campaign mail to voters featuring images of convicted murderers Steven Hayes and Thomas Komisarjevsky. That is what Republicans in Connecticut have been reduced to. That and Linda McMahon. And high gas prices too. Santorum 2012.

  10. Rational

    About 70% of the Connecticut population support the death penalty. Prosecutors use it as leverage to extract information from the guilty to charge co-conspirators who otherwise would go free. Yet, our legislators choose to ignore the balance of public opinion. Shame on them and, it’s time to vote out every politician who thinks they represent some other entity than the voting public. The three holdouts should be the first to go – State Sen. Edith Prague, Sens. Joseph Crisco, D-Woodbridge, and Carlo Leone, D-Stamford – vote the bastards out and then start on the rest that can’t hear the majority. Let’s not forget the Pettit family. Who can possibly voice a rational reason why Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes
    should continue to breathe.

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