Death Penalty Repeal Question: What About Those Already on Death Row?


Connecticut legislators are again debating whether to repeal the state's death penalty, as they have for the past seven years, reports Opponents say the punishment is too costly, too arbitrary, and racially biased; supporters insist it deters crime. With memories of a brutal 2007 home invasion murder in Cheshire, Ct., still fresh in the minds of many in the state, lawmakers are reluctant to pass any bill that would effectively commute the sentences of the Cheshire killers.

Deciding what to do with current death row inmates is an issue that will confront a growing number of states as they consider repealing their death penalties. Of the four states that have made this move in the last five years, New Mexico was the only one to leave inmates subject to execution after prospective repeal was enacted. Connecticut lawmakers are looking to New Mexico for a precedent on how to proceed with executions after a state has repealed its death penalty.

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