Featured Article

Lawmakers To Discuss Bill to Abolish Death Penalty as a Money-Saver
Article Audio

1:32 minutes (0.74 MB)
Download this Article
Share this Content

Facing growing budget deficits, lawmakers in Connecticut and several other states have introduced legislation to abolish the death penalty as a way to save money. This isn't the first time state lawmakers have looked at ending capitol punishment.

This morning, the Legislature's Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on the issue.  Committee co-chair, state Representative Mike Lawlor says ending the death penalty makes sense these days.

"We have a terrible budget crisis, huge deficit.  And if you look at the fact that no one has actually been executed in Connecticut in the last 50 years, except for the one guy who wanted to be executed. Then the question is why do we have this very expensive public policy when we're not even going to do it?"

Serial rapist, Michael Ross was executed in Connecticut in 2005.

Lawlor says life in prison without parole is a better sentence for the worst of the worst.  He says capitol punishment is more costly because it takes too long for a trial to begin from the time of a deadly crime.

"Look at the Cheshire murders. Those happened a year and a half ago. And they're talking about maybe starting the first of the two trials a year from now. And that's just the trial. That's not the appeals, the appeals go on for ten, twenty, thirty years. We have a bunch of guys on death row in Connecticut right now. Many of them have been there since the 1980s."

Two bills relating to capitol punishment are before the Judiciary Committee. one bill calls on abolishing the death penalty while another addresses the legal standards in a death penalty case--and asks that the penalty only be handed down in capitol felony cases where the jury is absolutely certain of an individual's guilt.

A bill to abolish the state's death penalty failed in the House two years ago.