Top Prosecutor Questions Connecticut Supreme Court's Death Penalty Ruling | Connecticut Public Radio

Top Prosecutor Questions Connecticut Supreme Court's Death Penalty Ruling

Sep 10, 2015

Kevin Kane.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The state's top prosecutor wants the Connecticut Supreme Court to reconsider its recent landmark decision to completely eliminate the death penalty in the state. The Connecticut Law Tribune reports that Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane has filed a motion for argument and motions to strike the 4-3 decision, which was handed down in August.

Kane said the majority opinion addresses issues and undertakes analysis that were never raised or presented in the original case.

The ruling this year meant that the eleven prisoners then on death row will not face execution. The possibility of the death penalty for future cases had already been removed by a 2012 repeal in the legislature.

Kane's office, which heads the Division of Criminal Justice, said it recognizes the complex legal and policy issues the Supreme Court confronted, and said there are legitimate opinions on both sides of the debate. "But" he wrote, "the process the majority followed in reaching its conclusion deprived the division of the opportunity to address the concerns that drove the results."

Kane said the opinion rests on inaccurate assumptions, and errors of law.

"The majority failed to accord the proper respect for the legislature's express intent" in making its repeal only prospective, argued Kane. He said legislators were assured before they voted on repeal that the change would not apply to those currently on death row.

Kane also rejected the argument that the death penalty is applied disproportionately to people of color, or that Connecticut is at risk of executing the innocent.

The public defenders' office said it is drafting a response to the motion for argument.