Yes, it is Good Friday everywhere, but it is particularly sweet in Connecticut this year. Yesterday, the state Senate passed a bill to repeal the death penalty (read coverage here). The Senate was the largest barrier, but after a lengthy debate the bill passed 20-16, largely along party lines. The bill should pass the state’s House of Representatives without too much trouble and Governor Malloy has promised to sign it.
It is a particularly difficult time to pass the bill. The single story that has dominated local media in the last few years focused on a home invasion killing in Cheshire, CT (two men sexually assaulted and murdered a woman and her two daughters by dousing the house with gasoline; the husband/father had been beaten and tied in the basement). The killers were found guilty and given the death penalty. Hard to make a case for repeal in this environment, particularly when public opinion supports the death penalty (and has only grown stronger in its support overtime). Moreover, Connecticut does not use the death penalty as cavalierly as most states (while there are 11 people on death row, only one has been executed since 1960).
Yet, state legislators did something that is rare: following a lengthy, serious,and public debate, they took a principled stand in the face of public opinion.
Sometimes liberty wins, even in a state like Connecticut that embraces the activist state.