Between its founding as a colony in 1639 and 2005, Connecticut performed 126 executions. Hanging was the original method of execution, replaced in 1937 with the electric chair, which itself was replaced in 2005 with lethal injection. That year marked the first execution in the state since Connecticut reinstated its death penalty in 1973, a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled several state statues on capital punishment were unconstitutional.
There are currently eleven persons on the state’s death row. The General Assembly’s Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates that the death penalty costs the state of Connecticut $4 million a year to maintain. Unlike most of the other states, the Governor cannot commute the death sentence imposed under state law or pardon a death row inmate. These determinations are made by an independent Board of Clemency. Since 1973, no death row inmate has been granted clemency.
In 2009, Connecticut’s General Assembly passed a bill that would have outlawed the death penalty, although it would not have retroactively applied to the current death row inmates. The bill was vetoed by Governor Jodi Rell.
In April 2012, the state House and Senate passed a bill eliminating the death penalty and it was signed by Gov. Malloy the following week, making Connecticut the seventeeth state to end the death penalty since 1976.
CMN State Spotlight – January 2010