This afternoon, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed legislation that replaces the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole; here’s a portion of his statement upon signing:
My position on the appropriateness of the death penalty in our criminal justice system evolved over a long period of time. As a young man, I was a death penalty supporter. Then I spent years as a prosecutor and pursued dangerous felons in court, including murderers. In the trenches of a criminal courtroom, I learned firsthand that our system of justice is very imperfect. While it’s a good system designed with the highest ideals of our democratic society in mind, like most of human experience, it is subject to the fallibility of those who participate in it. I saw people who were poorly served by their counsel. I saw people wrongly accused or mistakenly identified. I saw discrimination. In bearing witness to those things, I came to believe that doing away with the death penalty was the only way to ensure it would not be unfairly imposed.
Connecticut becomes the seventeenth state to abolish capital punishment and the fifth in five years.
Governor Malloy’s full statement is here.
This is important. Right now, the right to record police is not recognized in all judicial circuits, nor by the Supreme Court, so it is not “clearly established” so as to render police amenable to suit for purposes of § 1983 liability under federal law (§ 1983 allows you to sue government officials for violating your constitutional rights under certain circumstances). State remedies like this one go a long way towards incentivizing police departments to start training their officers not to harass or arrest people that are doing nothing more than videotaping them.
› After more than nine hours of debate, the Connecticut House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to repeal the state’s death penalty, following a similar vote in the State Senate last week. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, has said he will sign the bill, which would make Connecticut the 17th state — the 5th in five years — to abolish capital punishment for future cases.