Back in 2012, the state of Connecticut abolished the death penalty, becoming the 17th in the nation and the fifth in five years to do so. However, the question remained about the prisoners who had been put on death row before the law was changed.
On August 13, the state Supreme Court answered that question: By a 4-3 decision, it declared the death penalty unconstitutional, freeing those convicts from the threat of officially-sanctioned death. They will now serve life without parole.
The Court made reference to the repeal in its decision, finding that in light of the 2012 law,
this state's death penalty no longer comports with contemporary standards of decency and no longer serves any legitimate penological purpose.The ruling advanced reasons beyond the change in law, including, in wording significant in coming from a court,
the freakishness with which the sentence of death is imposed; the rarity with which it is carried out; and the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic biases that likely are inherent in any discretionary death penalty system.Thus, the court found, the death penalty "fails to comport with our abiding freedom from cruel and unusual punishment."
And since medical experts will agree that no form of execution is "humane," despite the claims of proponents of various means of official murder, it can well be argued that execution is by its nature cruel and should be stopped. And in Connecticut, it now has been.
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