Without Fanfare, Malloy Signs Bill Abolishing Death Penalty

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy\’s signature this afternoon has abolished the death penalty for future crimes in Connecticut.

The signing was announced only after the fact.

Malloy had promised to sign the bill, but as recently as Tuesday his office said they had no knowledge of when he would sign it.

About 2:15 p.m., however, his office released this statement:

“This afternoon I signed legislation that will, effective today, replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release as the highest form of legal punishment in Connecticut.  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.

“Many of us who have advocated for this position over the years have said there is a moral component to our opposition to the death penalty.  For me, that is certainly the case.  But that does not mean – nor should it mean – that we question the morality of those who favor capital punishment.  I certainly don’t.  I know many people whom I deeply respect, including friends and family, that believe the death penalty is just.  In fact, the issue knows no boundaries: not political party, not gender, age, race, or any other demographic.  It is, at once, one of the most compelling and vexing issues of our time.

“My position on the appropriateness of the death penalty in our criminal justice system evolved over a long period of time.  As a young man, I was a death penalty supporter.  Then I spent years as a prosecutor and pursued dangerous felons in court, including murderers.  In the trenches of a criminal courtroom, I learned firsthand that our system of justice is very imperfect.  While it’s a good system designed with the highest ideals of our democratic society in mind, like most of human experience, it is subject to the fallibility of those who participate in it.  I saw people who were poorly served by their counsel.  I saw people wrongly accused or mistakenly identified.  I saw discrimination.  In bearing witness to those things, I came to believe that doing away with the death penalty was the only way to ensure it would not be unfairly imposed.

“Another factor that led me to today is the ‘unworkability’ of Connecticut’s death penalty law.  In the last 52 years, only 2 people have been put to death in Connecticut – and both of them volunteered for it.  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.  It is sordid attention that rips open never-quite-healed wounds.  The 11 men currently on death row in Connecticut are far more likely to die of old age than they are to be put to death.

“As in past years, the campaign to abolish the death penalty in Connecticut has been led by dozens of family members of murder victims, and some of them were present as I signed this legislation today.   In the words of one such survivor: ‘Now is the time to start the process of healing, a process that could have been started decades earlier with the finality of a life sentence. We cannot afford to put on hold the lives of these secondary victims.  We need to allow them to find a way as early as possible to begin to live again.’  Perhaps that is the most compelling message of all.

“As our state moves beyond this divisive debate, I hope we can all redouble our efforts and common work to improve the fairness and integrity of our criminal justice system, and to minimize its fallibility.”

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50 thoughts on “Without Fanfare, Malloy Signs Bill Abolishing Death Penalty

  1. DrHunterSThompson

    The problem with politicians is this: there is no accountability. Who will still be around to answer questions and to defend why and how on earth a bill passed that will allow those on death row to live their natural lives out.

    The “prospective” nature of this law will be struck down as unconstitutional. Then we will be in a bind. And there will be no Malloy, Donovan, holder-Winfield, or anyone else for that matter to answer to commuting the sentences of the individuals currently on death row.

    This is simple constitutional analysis. Anyone know why they did not listen?


    1. Annette Bigler

      Have you ever analyzed the cost of the death penalty versus life in prison without parole? Legally murdering the convect is the easy way out for them. To live gives them time to relive their crime. AND do you know how many innocent people have been executed? Just one is too much. The most recent was a man by the name of Troy Davis in Georgia. The prosecution refused to review the overwhelming evidence that they were wrong.

  2. John

    Once again the Government NOT reprsenting the People!

    Nice going Gov., your approval rating will drop quicker now!

  3. Dave

    Malloy just signed his political death warrant in CT. I’m ashamed and disgusted to be a Connecticut resident today.

  4. Amber

    thats so dumb.. you cant tell me those two psychos from the cheshire home invasion didnt deserve to die. Some people shouldnt be allowed to live!
    Thank you to the governor for not caring what anybody that you represent think. dumb a$$

  5. Imaginary Reality

    We the people feel comforted in knowing that the likes of The Chishire Home Murderers will forever be rewarded with free room and board for life the the evil deeds they have done . Better yet , they will be isolated from the general prison population , and dually protected from their wrath …

  6. Ben

    Thank you for your leadership, Governor. You were elected to make tough decisions and do what you think is right. You did that today.

  7. KB

    Good Job Connecticut! Thank you Governor Malloy for doing the right thing! We can now be a leader for the rest of the nation to follow.

  8. Harry T

    In another 15 to 20 years they’ll be wanting to repeal “life without parole”. Society slides another inch towards the tar pits.

  9. Happy camper

    What a power grap by the Democrats just like the first two years of Obama. They want to legalize pot, make it easier for voter fraud, abolish the death penalty, paid sick leave, force unionization, card check and the largest tax increase in history. What a sad place Conn has become.

  10. Grateful citizen

    This is a momentous day. The legislature & governor are courageous. I strongly encourage those who don’t support the repeal to read accounts both in CT and all over the country of innocent people being convicted and/or executed for crimes they did not commit. Like the governor, I’ve worked in the criminal justice system – and it’s far from perfect. Ask yourselves how many guilty people you could see be set free before the death of one innocent person is justified. Seriously. Think about it, and then remember that death would have taken place in your name.

  11. Susanne Fusso

    Thank you, Governor Malloy. You have helped Connecticut join the rest of the civilized world.

        1. Jimbo

          So, the decision to kill an unborn baby is civilized because its a choice? Welcome to the new “civilized” world where violent murderers get to live and innocent children get murdered. Thanks liberals!

  12. HotDam

    Yup…. well over 60% of the taxpayers in CT are in favor of keeping the death penalty, but Malloy and the Socialist-Liberal Legislature simply went ahead and did what THEY wanted, regardless of public opinion.

    Given these whack-o politicians and their sociopathic sympathies and proclivities, do not be surprised if someday, maybe not real soon, the likes of Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky may be released before they either die or rot in prison.


  13. JRP

    Typical of the elected officials….ignore what the majority of constituents want. They will say and do anythng to get elected and once in they only abide by their own agendas. We need to remember this next election but unfortunately it will just be more of the same. So sad.

    1. Rose

      actually, Governor Malloy was consistent as a candidate in saying he doesn’t support the death penalty and would sign a repeal of the death penalty into law if the legislature passed such a law. He’s keeping his word.

      It may not be popular but it was honest.

  14. Demitri Polumba

    If only we called it “Really late-term abortion”, these same politicians would be falling all over each other clamoring for it’s protection. Hypocrites!! “Keep you hands off my justice”.

  15. Republican for Repeal

    You don’t have to be a liberal democrat or support the governor’s other policies to support the repeal of a punishment not befitting a civilized country. To those who think life in prison is more expensive than implementing the death penalty – do your research. To those who think the Cheshire killers won’t still get the death penalty – do your research. Frankly, it’s embarrassing to be a Republican and see how ignorant my “fellow” conservatives sound. Please people, don’t make the rest of us look stupid.

  16. John

    Kenneth Ireland was falsely imprisoned in Connecticut for twenty years for the rape and murder of Barbara Pelkey. But for his young age, he probably would have been executed while her true killer Kevin Benefield, escaped justice.

  17. IrasburgEd

    Thank you Governor Malloy, Ct today joins the civilized world. Can’t people put themselves into the murderer’s place? I would have been one of those inmates asking for death rather than being kept in a 5X8 foot cell for the rest of my life with no possibility of ever walking free again. You don’t think that it is the proverbial “fate worse than death”?
    I do.

  18. Imaginary Reality

    We the people feel comforted in knowing that the likes of The Cheshire Home Murderers will forever be rewarded with free room and board for life for the evil deeds they have done . Better yet , they will be isolated from the general prison population , and dually protected from their wrath …

  19. Jimbo

    Yes, Connecticut has joined the civilized world today. The worst animals among us will live out their days in prison while innocent unborn children are murdered every day. Isn’t civilization great?

  20. Elizabeth

    Thank you, Governor Malloy and all who made this possible. I am so proud to be a citizen of Connecticut today, to join 15 other states, and to leave the company of Iran, North Korea, and Texas. Today, Connecticut has truly said it is wrong to take a human life.

  21. Jimbo

    Did you forget Elizabeth that we take innocent lives every day when we abort our children? Are you proud of that right to choose the death of your child?

    The hypocrisy is stunning.

    1. J.J.

      She said “human life.” A fetus is not a human, nor is it technically alive. If you want to be logical, a fetus is less a human than it is a parasite – it relies on another organism for sustenance and could not survive without it. And I’ll bet that Elizabeth IS proud of her right to choose for herself. It’s the ultimate hypocrisy that the same GOP nutjobs who claim to support individual rights would rather give more of those rights to a lump of cells than to an adult woman.

      1. Jimbo

        Nice rationalization J.J. I’m going with the lump of cells. You’re fortunate your mother chose life.

  22. bruiser

    Another colossal mistake by Malloy. When will his stupidity and ineptness ever end? And before you left-wing loons go crazy, I’m an independent who prays every day that enough Americans come to their senses by Nov. 6 to get rid of Obama. And Malloy likely wouldn’t even be in office if the polls hadn’t been held open for an extra two hours in Bridgeport because they allegedly ran out of ballots. What were they doing, stuffing the ballot box?

  23. Margaret P. Levy

    Thank you, Governor Malloy for having the courage to run for office saying you would sign a bill abolishing the death penalty. Thank you for your humanity in following
    through and signing the bill today. What kind of a people are we when we try to show that killing is wrong by killing people?

  24. Rose

    Thank you, Governor Malloy for showing incredible leadership and willingness to take a stand on such a difficult issue.

    For those who say it isn’t a popular decision or will hurt in the polls, or even claim a lack of accountability – I commend the Governor for holding true to the commitments he made while he was a candidate. Governor Malloy has consistently shown he is willing to show leadership on the issues he ran on even when it isn’t always popular to do so.

    Frankly I think its refreshing to have a Governor who actually does the work of leading the state with integrity and principle.

    Just look at the well articulated statement his office released which respectfully acknowledges the enormity of this decision on something as serious as the death penalty or life in prison and gives the Governor’s reasons for signing the law. In the past, the most we would’ve heard from a Governor was “yes, no, or I’m appointing a commission to look into this”.

    Thankfully we now have a leader who isn’t afraid to lead on the issues he said he would confront as Governor.

  25. Happy camper

    Conn HAD the toughest death penalty criteria. There is no way an innocent person would be put to death in Ct. Some crimes are so horrible that the person doesn’t deserve to stick around.

  26. John

    Well done Governor. It takes bravery to do what is right, especially when it may not be the most popular thing to do.

    Our judicial system is one created by humans and therefore is subject to all our weaknesses and short comings. It is a system capable of producing mistakes.

    If there is even a remote chance that an innocent person could be put to death, that is an unacceptable risk. I’m glad Connecticut will no longer take that risk with our lives.

    1. John

      Ad hominem attacks, false equivalence and a non sequitor. These are the last harbors of those who know they no evidence to support their positions.

      Please try facts and data, or at the very least try discussing the issue being discussed.

  27. John Cummings

    Thanks you for your sensitivity for this issue. I’ve worked many years for this moment. If asked to sum it up I wouldn’t put it any better then your statement did. This is a shift in our society.

  28. jeffrey

    Oh well, I guess we’ll just support murderers and worse for as long as they naturally live. And they’ll even get medical care (something some of us tax paying citizens don’t even get!) Ct’s opening the door for home invaders,
    rapists, murderers, serial killers and any combination of the above! Good move! Wonder how that’ll decrease our budget deficit, can someone please explain?

  29. justice is crap

    40,000 a year per inmate 3 meals a day
    heat ,air condition showers tv schooling free medical dental way to go Malloy

  30. murbike

    About time.
    We’ve had the ‘death penalty’ in CT since 1639, and in the 373 years since, the State has executed a whopping 126 times.

    If a State has the Death Penalty, then it should be used, otherwise, it’s a hollow deterrent.

    In CT, it was a hollow deterrent after 1960. Until then, the State executed prisoners fairly regularly (.

    The last female executed was in 1786.

    The heyday of executions seems to be from 1803 to 1919.

    If a person is convicted of a crime, and there is ZERO doubt about their guilt, then they should be put down.

    Therein lies the problem – our legal system is not perfect, and lately, convictions have been overturned due to improved technology.

    Does that mean that the conviction based on evidence collected 30 years ago is bad? Who knows?

    There are many examples of wrongly convicted people on death row. That’s a problem.

    Unless the evidence is as clear as our recent Cheshire case, the Death Penalty should be off the table.

    The two losers who murdered the Petit ladies should be put to death in a public square, with a lottery to choose the person who pulls the lever.

    And it should be televised.

  31. SmGovGood

    It is a sad day for the citizens who’s wishes were ignored, 67% wanted the death penalty. We have lost our representation and in place have officials who force unions on working day care moms that will take the money for kids food and say sorry – that is for union dues.

    Voting laws are being weakened as “same day” registration (let all the illeagals vote as much as they want). Show a drivers licence and be proud to be a citizen! Dannel and the $1 Billion dollar bus from NB to Hartford is our tax dollars buying union votes, waste of money! (unless you are a democrat in office) CT is the worst place to retire,our credit as a state is dowgraded, thanks Dannel & the Dems in the legislature. Perhaps CT will wake up and vote you out!

  32. Jimbo

    Since the reintroduction of the death penalty the murder has skyrocketed and many innocent people have been executed. Nonetheless conservatives demand the death penalty as a solution to solve the crime problem. I guess it is just primitive revenge emotions that drives them. I guess Iran, Saudi Arabia, China etc. are proud of US conservatives.

  33. John F. Daly III

    At last a governor as good as his word. Thank you Dan Malloy for saving our state from the barbarism of capital punishment.

  34. Jessica Makowski

    Kudos to CT Legislature and Governor Malloy for joining the rest of the industrialized world in repealing this law. News agencies are griping that CT voters disagree, but when you look at the Quinnipiac poll, the only thing that’s clear is that CT voters don’t know what they want: when asked if they agree with issuing the death penalty to convicted murderers, 62 said yes, but when asked whether they prefer life in prison without parole or the death penalty, it was a deadlock at 46 to 46 percent, with 8 percent undecided. Regardless of what CT really wants, this is a clearly exceptional case of lawmakers ACTUALLY VOTING THEIR CONSCIENCE AND NOT WHAT THEY THINK WILL GET THEM RE-ELECTED! CT- you put them into office, and if you indeed don’t like it, you will vote them out!

  35. Bob

    $100 million.

    That’s what we spend on healthcare for inmates annually.

    With no death deterrent, we are free to do as we please. Maybe sign on for the inmate program and get an education and health care and food and…all for free. No need to pay it back when you’re released, unless you hit the lottery.

    Nice job!

    1. Chucky_Dee

      Dude – paying the state BACK if you hit the lottery (their money !?! ) would just be moving it from one government pocket to another! :-) Keep it – that’s what they want too I bet !

  36. Chucky_Dee

    This is a HUGE statement of support for George Zimmerman, indeed, vigilantes EVERYWHERE!

    After all, the death penalty, a law, never influenced criminals much, since they, by definition, don’t obey laws. The self-defense crowd, on the other hand DOES, and has ALWAYS had to be careful in light of possible capitol punishment, which his or her attacker really doesn’t face.

    So, Thanks for Justice For George !

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