State lawmakers to vote on abolishing death penalty
By WFSB Staff
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -
The Connecticut House of Representatives will be voting on the high-profile death penalty repeal bill today, a week after the bill passed in the state's Senate.
House members are going in around 1:30 p.m. and believe they have enough votes to abolish the death penalty.
The proposed bill would abolish the death penalty for all future cases, but would not directly affect the sentences of the current 11 inmates on Connecticut's death row.
If passed in the House, the bill would go to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has said he would sign it into law.
The state Senate approved a repeal bill after nearly 11 hours of debate last week.
The bill that passed the Senate replaces death with life in prison without parole and creates tougher conditions similar to those for inmates currently on death row. Those convicted of capital murder would not be in the general population and would have no more than two hours of recreation a day.
Polls have shown that a majority of state residents believe the death penalty is just in cases involving heinous crimes.
Kenneth Ireland has spent most of life locked up for being falsely convicted of murder and rape. He more than likely would have gotten the death penalty, but he was only 16 at the time he was convicted.
It was DNA evidence that set him free after 21 years behind bars.
Ireland said as long as mistakes happen there should never be a death penalty.
"If it's not a perfect system then you should not be able to take somebody's life when there is any possibility that it could have been a mistake," he said.
Dawn Mancarella is among a growing number of people who want to get rid of the death penalty. Mancarella's mother was murdered and the man who killed her got 35 years. That's OK with Mancarella because she doesn't feel the death penalty would not have made her feel any better.
Three years ago both chambers passed a bill repealing the death penalty, but Gov. Jodi Rell vetoed it.
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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