Michael Ross, who spent nearly 18 years on Connecticut’s death row before being executed, would have been there far longer had he not decided in October to end his appeals, the Associated Press reports. Many of his victims’ relatives said the legal odyssey forced them to relive the crimes as Ross again and again took the media spotlight. “Hopefully, our judicial system has learned something from all this experience we’ve been through, dragged through — the media, the people who have come forward just to get their 15 minutes of fame — for what?” Debbie Dupris said. Her sister was a Ross victim.
“The root of the problem is not so much whether an inmate can exercise their rights to appeal,” Chief State’s Attorney Christopher Morano said. “The problem we have is in the process and the incredible numbers of post-conviction actions that can be undertaken in a capital case, despite the fact that guilt and non-guilt is not an issue.” Edwin Shelley, whose daughter, Leslie, was also killed by Ross, said he’d like to see lawyers and others who attempt to intervene in executions held personally liable if their cases are deemed frivolous. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal believes the courts can move faster. Appeals by Ross’ sister on his behalf made their way from the Superior Court to the U.S. Supreme Court in four days. “There is no reason that appeals should last for years on a docket when they can be addressed more quickly in a death penalty case,” he said.