Yesterday afternoon Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed legislation repealing the death penalty in the state of Connecticut. Effective immediately the Nutmeg State becomes the 17th state to abolish capital punishment, replacing it with life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The governor explained that while that the legal system of our democratic society has been designed with the highest ideals, the process "is subject to the fallibility of the individuals who participate in it." Governor Malloy wrote in a statement released yesterday:
"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 the criminal courtroom, I learned firsthand that our system of justice is very imperfect."
The governor explained that over the years he witnessed people poorly served by their counsel, suspects wrongly accused or mistakenly identified, and widespread discrimination. It was for those reasons he had come to oppose capital punishment.
"In bearing witness to those things," said Governor Malloy, " I came to believe that doing away with the death penalty was the only way to ensure it would not be unfairly imposed."
In the last 52 years, two people have been executed by the state of Connecticut ... both men volunteered. Currently eleven men live on "death row," many filing appeal after appeal. As the governor put it. " ... they are far more likely to die of old age as they are to be put to death."