The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state’s death penalty is unconstitutional, a decision that will spare 11 inmates who are currently on death row.
Back in 2012, state lawmakers passed a bill that abolished the death penalty, but the decision did not apply those who had already been sentenced to death.
“We are persuaded that, following its prospective abolition, this state’s death penalty no longer comports with contemporary standards of decency and no longer serves any legitimate penological purpose,” the state's high court majority opinion stated.
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The death penalty was overturned by Connecticut’s top court by a 4-3 vote.
The court action following an appeal from Eduardo Santiago, who was sentenced to die for a murder-for-hire killing in 2000.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, who is against the death penalty, said in a statement that his administration will continue to look to the judicial system for guidance, adding the ruling made for a “somber day.”
“Our focus should not be on the 11 men sitting on death row, but with their victims and those surviving families members,” said the Democrat. “My thoughts and prayers are with them during what must be a difficult day.”
Nineteen states in the U.S., along with the District of Columbia, have abolished the death penalty.