Connecticut Becomes 17th State to Repeal Death Penalty

April 25, 2012

Washington, D.C. — April 25, 2012 — The Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty hails Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s decision to sign legislation repealing the death penalty today, making Connecticut the fifth state to end the death penalty in five years. CMN also acknowledges with gratitude the hard work of the members of the state’s legislature who fought for this bill and ensured its passage last week. In particular, CMN recognizes the courage and convictions of several Catholic members of the legislature who spoke in favor of, and voted for, repeal, citing their Catholic faith as a key motivation.

The repeal comes on the heels of the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, McCleskey v Kemp, in which the court upheld the constitutionality of racial disparities in the death penalty, thereby placing a substantial barrier to eliminating racial inequities in the criminal justice system overall. Also last week, the prestigious National Research Council of the National Academies released a report saying that studies claiming the death penalty deters crime are fundamentally flawed.

The Connecticut repeal effort was fueled by support from both members of law enforcement and family members of murder victims. More than 180 family members called upon the Connecticut legislature to repeal the death penalty, and dozens appeared at press conferences, called and visited lawmakers, appeared in the media, and attended the votes in the General Assembly. Current and former police chiefs told the General Assembly that the death penalty does not help them keep the public safe.

Connecticut will join Illinois, New Mexico, New Jersey and New York to become the fifth state in five years to repeal the death penalty. Montana, Colorado, Kansas and Maryland have also considered repeal in recent years, and more than 800,000 California voters have signed to put the issue on that state’s ballot in November. CMN continues to work with Catholic parishes, communities and groups in these states and throughout the nation in support of efforts to end the use of the death penalty in the United States, in accordance with Catholic teaching about the dignity of life and the human person. Those interested in learning more about Catholic teaching with regard to the death penalty can view a two-page reference sheet prepared by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and CMN here.