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September 4, 2012

Despite legislative "future" repeal, Connecticut death penalty to face trial

As explained in this Hartford Courant article, headlined "Prosecutors Will Take Stand In Death Penalty Bias Trial," the application of the death penalty in Connecticut is due to go on trial in state court tomorrow.  Here are the details:

Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane is expected to be one of the first witnesses Wednesday in the long-awaited habeas corpus trial on claims by condemned killers that Connecticut's death penalty is racially, ethnically and geographically biased.

Kane and other state prosecutors -- including New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington, who successfully sought the death penalty for Cheshire home invasion killers Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky -- will likely testify about their decisions to pursue death by lethal injection for certain accused murderers, and sentences of life in prison for others.

Starting Wednesday and for several weeks, the judge, lawyers, court staff and witnesses in the case will travel to Northern Correctional Institution in Somers where the trial is being held in a prison dayroom.  Northern houses Connecticut's death row.  The public can view the proceedings through a live video feed being shown at Superior Court in Rockville where habeas corpus petitions are usually heard. The unusual trial plan was created after correction officials expressed safety concerns about the death row inmates all being in the same courtroom at once in Rockville....

Repeal of the death penalty by lawmakers earlier this year raised questions about whether the discrimination trial should be put on hold until the state Supreme Court decides the constitutionality of the repeal for future crimes.  The historic vote at the legislature in April abolished the death penalty for future crimes but allows executions for those who committed capital crimes before the new law was passed.

Superior Court Judge Samuel J. Sferrazza decided to move ahead with the case, which has languished for years.  Sferrazza in July rejected requests by the death row inmates involved in the habeus corpus trial to amend their petition to raise new issues related to the state's decision to abolish capital punishment for future crimes.  Sferrazza said those issues could be raised in a separate petition without delaying consideration of the discrimination claims.

Death row inmates' claims of bias date back to 1994 when Sedrick Cobb asked for the opportunity to present statistics to demonstrate that racial discrimination influenced the death penalty.  Cobb, who is black, had been convicted in the December 1989 rape and killing in Waterbury of 23-year-old Julia Ashe of Watertown.  Ashe was white.  Cobb was eventually told by the state Supreme Court that he would have to lodge his claims about racial bias in a habeas petition.

September 4, 2012 at 07:04 PM | Permalink

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Comments

“claims by condemned killers that Connecticut's death penalty is racially, ethnically and geographically biased”

Are these malefactors asking for more generous redistribution of the wealth?

For the next murderer who slays a pygmy, we ought then to force the death penalty, for the next murderer who slays a Pashto-speaking Greek, we ought force the death penalty, and for the next murderer who slays a resident of Happyland, CT, we ought force the death penalty.

Posted by: Adamakis | Sep 4, 2012 10:26:19 PM

|| Cobb, who is black, had been convicted in the December 1989 rape and killing in Waterbury of 23-year-old Julia Ashe of Watertown. Ashe was white. ||

As said variously before, if you murder my two brothers and sister whilst federalist murders only my Father,
the execution of federalist would be more just than letting both of you go without proper punishment.

Why is she dead and he alive?

"…[I]f there is a [bias] it should be corrected to make sure more cold-blooded murders die, not less."
~~(mytemp001) Charlotte Observer

Posted by: Adamakis | Sep 4, 2012 10:29:45 PM

mamma mia !

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN CONNECTICUT, 1973-2007: A COMPREHENSIVE EVALUATION FROM 4686 MURDERS TO ONE EXECUTION
http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1095&context=john_donohue

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Sep 5, 2012 7:25:32 AM

Claude,
Research is oft-times crucial and illuminating, other times extraneous and befogging.

Your example speaks not to the fact that Sedrick "Scumbag" Cobb was long ago convicted of the 1989 rape and killing of Julia Ashe yet lives.

Perhaps you can address the question of why he should not be executed according to sentence?

Non credo.

Posted by: Adamakis | Sep 5, 2012 9:14:58 AM

the world lives happily without the death penalty

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Sep 5, 2012 12:05:39 PM

Good answer.

You have acquitted yourself as intellectually and morally bankrupt in two languages.

Congratulazioni.

Posted by: Adamakis | Sep 5, 2012 1:51:07 PM

morally? You hangman-friend dare to speak of morality ??
Next time I'll say what I think of you in italian

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Sep 5, 2012 2:10:53 PM

Claudio è il solito buonista che non se ne frega niente delle vittime ma ha sempre compassione per i criminali. Egli ce l'ha più con quelli favorevoli alla pena di morte che ha con gli assassini e stupratori. Fortunatamente per gli Stati Uniti, i cattocommunisti come Claudio non convincono nessuno.

Posted by: alpino | Sep 5, 2012 2:26:27 PM

io almeno so scrivere in italiano

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Sep 5, 2012 2:46:59 PM

Claudio,

Mi dispiace. Since I do not know how you comport yourself, I was presumptuous to declare you as morally bankrupt. [E so molto poco italiano.]

You may be a fine citizen, but I disagree with your opposition to the execution of murderers.

Posted by: Adamakis | Sep 5, 2012 8:01:00 PM

E il tuo inglese? Tu non sai scriverlo per niente. Il tuo inglese è proprio risibile, maccheronico direi. Tu fai la solita figura di pagliaccio per cui, purtroppo, gli italiani sono ormai famosi.

Posted by: alpino | Sep 6, 2012 12:23:13 AM

di pagliacci ne conosco uno, in ogni caso questo è il mio manifesto abolizionista.
Capital Punishment is like slavery: nobody has the right to impose it.
Death penalty is a clear violation of human rights: right to equality, right to life, freedom from torture.
It is a black hole in the Law: a land with unclear borders changing in different times and countries.
It is a “privilege” of the poor, because “capital punishment means that those without the capital get the punishment”.
It is an irreversible punishment that kills the insane and the innocent.
It is not self-defense, but revenge.
It is not a more effective deterrent than prison and makes worst the evil it pretends to cure, because death penalty brutalizes and makes society more violent.
Death penalty is a human sacrifice, a ritualistic slaughter carried out in cold blood by the State. It is a travesty of justice and “nothing more than the purposeless and needless imposition of pain and suffering”.
Sooner or later everybody will realize that capital punishment is an immoral, indecent, illegal, expensive, stupid, cruel, dangerous, racist, classist, arbitrary, capricious, inconsistent, not working violation of human rights.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Sep 6, 2012 9:39:05 AM

@Claudio
Reciting slogans is unlikely to convince anyone on the other side so why bother?

Posted by: MikeinCT | Sep 6, 2012 10:47:25 AM

Le solite monate, Claudio. Che noioso che sei. Plus, you really need to work on improving your use of definite articles in English. If you insist on peppering English-language forums with your dime-store cookie-cutter screeds, you might get a bit more traction if you came off sounding a little less like Chico Marx and a bit more like someone relatively reasonable who evinces some sort of minimal understanding of the Anglo-Saxon mindset.

Posted by: alpino | Sep 6, 2012 11:58:59 AM

Mik: Try, if you can, to respond to my “slogans”
Alpino: to my critics I say what Justice Antonin Scalia said.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Sep 6, 2012 1:05:41 PM

Basta sparare cazzate, Claudio. Dai!

Posted by: alpino | Sep 7, 2012 12:44:09 AM

Poor Alpino, you have nothing but insult.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Sep 7, 2012 4:37:56 PM

Poor Claudio, you have nothing but poor English and thoroughly unconvincing hackneyed and Pollyannish arguments against capital punishment

Posted by: alpino | Sep 8, 2012 2:49:24 AM

Poor alpino. I can understand the pain of living in an abolitionist country. A country with the best abolitionist tradition in the world. http://www.astrangefruit.org/Documents/BreveStoriaAbolizioneItalia.pdf-
Death penalty is a clear violation of human rights, but you don’t know what human rights are so I do not spend time in it. Of course you, as a clever hangman-friend, believe that capital punishment is a deterrent for homicide. It is not. In Italy we have 500 criminal homicides per year and in 1991 we had 2.000. If you don’t believe in Italy get a look north of the border. Canada abolished the gallows in 1976 and it murder rate fell. In the same year America began its experiment in killing people, but its murder rate is higher.
In a precedent post you said something about victim’s rights, but you forget to add white, rich victim’s rights. Poor alpino: capital punishment is revenge with another name and American death penalty is “arbitrary and capricious” like 40 years ago.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Sep 8, 2012 11:07:29 AM

I couldn't care less about Italy's wonderful tradition of abolitionism. Italy's a country that used poison gas on Ethiopians in the 1930s. Italy was a willing partner of Nazi Germany. Italy sent Jews to German death camps. Italy never took responsibility for anything it did during the war, pretending that it was somehow a victim. Italy never seriously punished any of its own war criminals.

Italy's long been hand in glove with a barbaric Catholic Church that preaches against condom use for poor starving people in countries where AIDS is rampant and whose policies lead to children getting raped and the rapist-priest going unpunished so that they can rape even more kids.

In the 1990s, 200,000 people got slaughtered practically next door in Bosnia. And Italians like you let it happen. No angry marchers in the street to be seen nor lighting of the Colosseum, but the street protests did happen when NATO, finally, reluctantly, ended up bombing Serbia. Italy is ridiculously hypocritical and immoral: you let mass rapes and murders happen and then you dare to get on your high horse about America executing 30 to 40 of the very worst murderers a year? Certainly, Italy is no shining light of morality.

The death penalty is by no means a "clear" violation of human rights. It's not clear to me. We see the consequences of your line of thinking in Italy where people like you also essentially see imprisonment as a "clear" violation of human rights. Most murderers and rapists in Italy serve very little time. I think it's a "clear" violation of human rights to let such thugs out on the street again, especially when they're still young and can (and often do) inflict more harm on innocent people.

The death penalty is a specific deterrent for homicide. If you execute a murderer, then he or she will never murder again. The causal connection you attempt to establish between abolitionism and lower murder rates is invalid. Plenty of American jurisdictions without the death penalty (e.g. Detroit, Washington D.C., Chicago, etc.) have high murder rates, as does practically all of Latin America (I guess abolitionism has really been working well in Mexico). Plus, you have no way of knowing whether Italy and Canada's murder rates would be even lower if they had capital punishment.

Your remark about "rich, white victims" is like something from a bad Hollywood movie. Murderers usually kill people within their own socioeconomic group. There aren't very many rich, white murder victims in the USA. So, your "point" is pointless.

You can call the death penalty "revenge." I call it "justice." I see absolutely nothing wrong with killing murderers. They simply deserve it.

As for the death penalty being "arbitrary and capricious," well, then, one perfect solution would be to make it mandatory for all murderers. I'm sure you wouldn't like that, povero Claudio.

Posted by: alpino | Sep 8, 2012 2:03:44 PM


Alpino: The stupidity of your opinions is an embarrassment. In the 40 years I was in the field I hardly find someone so illiterate about human rights and history as you are.

Fascist Italy reinstated death penalty and used gas. Italy did not punished any war criminal (as US never did. Do you remember My Lai?) It happened because Allied did not want an Italian Nuremberg.

I am an atheist and I have nothing to do with Catholic Church.

Allover the Bosnia war I asked for a military intervention.

America does not execute the worst murderers but kills some randomly selected people.

Within the most dangerous American counties there are Dallas and Harris.

America cannot face its murderous laws and kills only a few of the thousands it should. In 40 years we had 1.300 state killings and not the 130.000 requested by American laws.

80% of the executed’s victims were white.

Rich people do not get prison (Simpson, Durst, Susan Cummings) but revenge (Faulder, Penry, ecc.)

You are for mandatory death penalty. Never heard of Woodson v North Carolina and Roberts v Louisiana, Scotus 1976 ?


Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Sep 9, 2012 3:01:34 PM

You're simply too stupid to be embarrassed by the stupidity of your own opinions. Italy committed war crimes and it wasn't just Fascists who committed them (communists like yourself even murdered other partisans who weren't communist). Italians didn't punish any war criminals because they preferred to re-write history where they were somehow victims as well as all being in the Resistance at the same time. Italians love maintaining the fiction that they're all basically goodhearted like "Mediterraneo" and "Captain Correlli's Mandolin". However, it's utter hogwash.

Then, Italy stood by and watched as hundreds of thousands got murdered and raped in Bosnia; meanwhile, you're protesting when a few of America's worst murderers get executed. It seems to me you don't have your priorities straight. You're much more concerned about a handful of murderers than countless innocent people.

You needn't spout out nonsense about America executing randomly selected people. You'd still be against executing the worst of the worst no matter what.

"Rich people do not get prison (Simpson, Durst, Susan Cummings)." Idiot, Simpson's currently doing 33 years in the Nevada State Penitentiary. You really ought to think before you write.

So what if Dallas and Houston are dangerous? It doesn't change the fact that lots of places without the death penalty are much more dangerous than them--have you ever heard of South Africa or Detroit?

I've never said I was in favor of a mandatory death penalty. I was just saying that your criticism that it's not always 100% equally applied is nonsense. If it were equally applied there'd be a heck of a lot more executions. I can't imagine you'd be pushing anytime soon for a constitutional amendment to overturn Woodson and Roberts.

So what if the majority of victims of those executed are white? Those who are executed still deserve to get executed. The fact is that jurisdictions with large black populations and, consequently, oodles of black murder victims, usually have DAs and juries that are less willing to apply the death penalty. Therefore, black victims' lives are actually largely devalued by fellow blacks and white bleeding hearts like yourself who eschew the death penalty and not by proponents of capital punishment. Anyway, as before, you're just talking jive since you wouldn't really want every death-penalty-eligible murderer to be executed just for the sake of equality.

Instead of worrying about the USA executing 30 to 40 murderers a year, why don't you worry about Italy letting murderers out of prison after serving scandalously short sentences so that they can go out and find new victims? Again, like most abolitionists, your priorities are way out of whack.

Posted by: alpino | Sep 9, 2012 5:55:24 PM

the big problem of Italy is the many like you

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Sep 9, 2012 6:28:33 PM

No, the problem is really reds like you who, deep down, actually care more about murderers (such as Silvia Baraldini or the Red Brigades who murdered Aldo Moro) than they do about innocent victims.

Posted by: alpino | Sep 10, 2012 1:19:44 AM

Poor alpino, how big are the stupid things you write.
I spent the best years of my life working for the soviet dissident.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Sep 10, 2012 11:12:15 AM

What? Just one?

Posted by: alpino | Sep 10, 2012 6:21:00 PM

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