Connecticut high court reaffirms death penalty repeal

by Elizabeth A. Elliott

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The Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the abolishment of the death penalty for everyone in the state, which means 11 men on death row would be re-sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release, according to the Hartford Courant

The death penalty in Connecticut was repealed in 2012 with the caveat that those already sentenced to death could still face execution, according to the article. The Supreme Court upheld last August's 4-3 decision that the death penalty was unconstitutional for all following the 2012 repeal.

Connecticut’s death row is housed at the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Conn. With the state Supreme Court's 5-2 ruling, those on death row could move to the general prison population instead, according to Michael Courtney, head of the state's capital defense unit of the office of the chief public defender.

While the men on death row were relieved, the news was not welcome for the victims' families, according to the article. William Petit's family was killed by Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes, who were sentenced to death in Connecticut. According to the article, it was their crimes that were the basis for the 2012 repeal not extending to those already on death row.

"Now people have decided to change the game," Petit said, in the article. "You end up not having much faith in the criminal justice system because it's really not a justice system. It's a legal system moved by the winds of different opinions and who has been appointed. I think it's a sad day for jurisprudence in the state of Connecticut."

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