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April 5, 2012

Connecticut now far along path to abolish the death penalty after Senate vote

As reported in this local article, headlined "Death Penalty Repeal Clears Biggest Hurdle; Senate Passes Bill, 20-16," it is looking now ever more likely that the Nutmeg State will join the now sizable list of states to abolish the death penalty legislatively.  Here are some interesting aspects of the legislative debate in CConnectivut:

Connecticut is poised to become the 17th state to abolish the death penalty after the Senate passed a bill early Thursday morning repealing capital punishment. The 20-16 vote came at 2:05 a.m., after more than 10 hours of debate.  The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where it has broad support.  Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has pledged to sign the bill once it reaches his desk....

The fate of the repeal drive was sealed earlier this week, when several one-time supporters of capital punishment indicated they were switching their stance.  Several of them spoke, often in bluntly personal terms, in the floor of the chamber.

"It's no secret I have agonized over this issue," said Sen. Edith Prague. A one-time supporter of the death penalty, the Democrat from Columbia has changed her position twice since 2009.... "I cannot stand the thought of being responsible for someone being falsely accused and facing the death penalty," Prague said, speaking slowly and deliberately as her colleagues listened. "For me this is a moral issue...I don't want to be part of a system that sends innocent people..to the death penalty."

Like Prague, Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Miford, said she has spent many sleepless nights wrestling with the moral implications of capital punishment. "Does a moral society execute people?'' she asked. "Haven't we then become the evil we're trying to eliminate?" Slossberg had been a defender of the death penalty but she, too, has come to reassess her position. "For me, the most compelling reason to reject the death penalty is to set ourselves on the path to the kind of society we really want for our future," she said....

The bill would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release. It stipulates that the 11 men currently on Connecticut's death row would still face execution; capital punishment would only be abolished for those convicted of capital offenses in the future.

The measure passed largely along party lines, with two Democrats — Paul Doyle of Wethersfield and Joan Hartley of Waterbury — joining the Republicans in rejecting the bill. Prague and Slossberg were among the small circle of senators whose votes were considered key in winning passage for the bill....

Sen. Carlo Leone, a Democrat from Stamford, has also wavered on the issue. In the past, he had backed capital punishment, but a visit to the state's maximum security prisons, including death row, prodded him to reassess his view. "I wanted to dispel any rumors of people who would say it's recreational, there's luxuries, there's privileges," Leone said. "And let me be clear ... neither one is a happy place to be."  Indeed, Leone described the prisons as dark and dreary places. "The cells are very small," he said, and there are no windows to speak of....

The prospective nature of the bill is a political compromise: Several lawmakers, including Prague, have said they would only back the repeal if it makes an exception for the current occupants of death row.  And Gov. Malloy has said he will only sign a prospective bill. "What we're doing today is not intellectually honest," Doyle said.  "Take the politics aside. It should be up or down, but this being a political world, that's what were voting on today."

In another bid to win support for the bill, Senate Democrats offered what one staff member called a "game-changing amendment" — it stipulates harsher sentences for those convicted of capital crimes.  The amendment cleared the chamber on a 21-14 vote — with all Democrats in favor, and all Republicans opposed.... As described by Democratic proponents, such a system would essentially replicate life on death row, but without the possibility of execution looming....

Connecticut has executed one man — serial killer Michael Ross — since 1960. Ross ultimately waived his appeals and sought to be executed, an indication, said Sen. Toni Harp, that life in a maximum security prison is indeed a grim existence.   "I disagree with those of you who believe that the death penalty is the ultimate punishment,"' said Harp, a New Haven Democrat.  "Death is something that is the common denominator, it is something we all face in our lives one way or another."  In contrast, life on death row was so bleak, Ross sought death as a remedy.

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Comments

"Does a moral society execute people?'' she asked. "Haven't we then become the evil we're trying to eliminate?"

No, a moral society celebrates a 'gay' pride parade in which homosexual men dress as nuns and engage in simulated sex acts, and homosexual women strut topless whilst fondling themselves and one another, before the city's gleeful mayor.

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 5, 2012 9:49:02 AM

----------'"It's no secret I have agonized over this issue," said Sen. Edith Prague….the Democrat'

----------"Like Prague, Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Miford, said she has spent many sleepless nights wrestling with the moral implications…"

----------'Sen. Carlo Leone, a Democrat from Stamford…had backed capital punishment, but… a visit to the state's maximum security prisons, including death row, prodded him to reassess his view…. "The cells are very small."' {{{unassailable logic}}}

----------"all Democrats in favor, and all Republicans opposed"----------

Oh, those Democrats have agonised, though not as much as the victims of homicide, nor their families.

Some of us are pained by the awareness that American elected officials are capable of employing such tortuous logic and infantile arguments.

We all suffer when the immoral rule; those powers who justify the wicked whilst condemning the just as those who "become the evil we're trying to eliminate".

Two-thirds of Connecticut's people support the death penalty: does that give pause to any of the ruling party?

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 5, 2012 10:05:34 AM

1-à"Does a moral society execute people?'' she asked.
2-à"Haven't we then become the evil we're trying to eliminate?"

1-à"Yes
&
2-à"No

Is Slossberg such an undiscerning equivocator that she tells of no distinction betwixt murder and adjudicated execution?

We are "trying to eliminate" murder; neither personal self-defence or military defence resulting in death, nor termination of the life of the murderer. Those are "moral".

XXXX----XXXX

So, if my 85 year-old grandmother, a school teacher, nursery volunteer, tutor of urban youth, mother to four children and no fan of spanking, supports the death penalty, she abets society in "becom[ing] the evil we're trying to eliminate"?

No, as my 10 year-old nephew expresses, 'injuring--or of course killing--an innocent person is wrong; putting a murderer to death is right'.

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 5, 2012 10:37:03 AM

The death penalty debate is more than alive and I believe this is a good thing!

Posted by: Charlotte workers comp | Apr 5, 2012 12:10:34 PM

'Adamakis'

friendly suggestions, if it does eventually pass, don't move to Connecticut, try to get over it and move on

Posted by: Tom Danson | Apr 5, 2012 1:24:46 PM

"Two-thirds of Connecticut's people support the death penalty: does that give pause to any of the ruling party?:

Looks five posts down. "Oh, he must be referring to the Catholic Church."

I'll give the Vatican credit for one thing: they display a moral consistency that dumbfounds the average Republican. They are pro-life everywhere. That is something I respect about them. I share that same moral consistency in the sense that I support the death penalty whether that be for a crime or in a woman's womb.

The problem Adamakis is that your position is entirely capacious and arbitrary. You want to kill when you want kill and you want to save when you want to save: the perfect illustration of spiritual pride.

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 5, 2012 1:54:54 PM

I don't know why Connecticut ever enacted it in the first place. The powers that be over the years never had the guts to pursue it aggressively. It would have been repealed a couple of years ago if not for the Petit case.

Senator Carlo Leone: "The cells are very small." So are the graves the poor victims are in. What a ridiculous thing to say.

Posted by: DaveP | Apr 5, 2012 2:51:24 PM

It's interesting to see how a major political party views capital murderers. Dems are downright excited to help them out.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 5, 2012 3:18:22 PM

Daniel,

[Did you really intend to type the following:
"I support the death penalty whether that be for a crime or in a woman's womb."?]

Anyway, you are right that to want to kill arbitrarily would be wrong, worse than prideful, no doubt.

If you cannot or will not see the difference between saving a baby from dismemberment and extricating a murderer from execution, however, your estimation of "moral consistency" is either obtuse or sinister.

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 5, 2012 3:26:47 PM

@adamakis.

Oh, I can see the difference killing a murderer and killing a baby in the womb. My assertion is that there is no principled difference. You can, if you so choose, see my outlook as sinister. Indeed, it would be exactly in-line with what the Pope has called America's "culture of death," a description I completely agree with. The difference between the Pope and I in that regard is not a difference in perception but difference in judgment. He thinks that the culture of death is wrong--and wrong in all its forms-- and I think it's good and true--in all its forms. Ironically, though, that makes the Church and I share one thing in common: we are both consistent. Consistently opposite, but consistent nonetheless.

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 5, 2012 5:56:12 PM

"No, a moral society celebrates a 'gay' pride parade in which homosexual men dress as nuns and engage in simulated sex acts, and homosexual women strut topless whilst fondling themselves and one another, before the city's gleeful mayor."


Please let me know which cities have pride parades where lesbians strut topless and fondle themselves and one another. I want to ensure I'm in attendance. Maybe I can high-five the gleeful mayor while I'm there.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Apr 5, 2012 7:30:59 PM

Where is CT's vengeance!!!!??? Oh what a sad day for the revenge-less Connecticutians! Where’s the vengeance? Where’s the vengeance?!

Posted by: neanderthal | Apr 5, 2012 7:46:16 PM

Like Prague, Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Miford, said she has spent many sleepless nights wrestling with the moral implications of capital punishment. "Does a moral society execute people?'' she asked. "Haven't we then become the evil we're trying to eliminate?"

How dumb is this Democrat?

Posted by: federalist | Apr 5, 2012 8:52:35 PM

"It's interesting to see how a major political party views capital murderers. Dems are downright excited to help them out."

"Connecticut has executed one man — serial killer Michael Ross — since 1960."

No reason to be too "excited" about ending something not occurring but what about consistent Catholic Republicans? Are they are "excited" about it? What about libertarians like Ron Paul who is now against the death penalty. Are they "excited" about helping out capital murderers?

As to the abortion thing cited above, if one doesn't think an embryo is a "person" (most abortions occur long before consciousness, e.g.) or that women should be forced Good Samaritans, a person can be fairly easily consistent. Among other reasons.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 6, 2012 10:22:15 PM

Is the pope "dumb" for thinking the death penalty is "evil"?

The state doesn't abort people. Even when illegal, abortions continue underground.

Is this implicitly federalist's Easter message?

Posted by: Joe | Apr 6, 2012 10:24:21 PM

testing!

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 7, 2012 12:56:46 AM

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