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death penalty

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

The U.S. government is poised to carry out the death penalty for the first time in nearly two decades, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr has instructed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to change the federal execution protocol to include capital punishment, the Justice Department said.

New Hampshire is poised to become the 21st state to abolish the death penalty.

The state Senate voted 17-6 Thursday to end capital punishment, adding its voice to the state House which voted for repeal last month by a vote of 279-88. The bill changes the penalty for capital murder to a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

This Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This hour, we hear from two people whose lives were forever changed by the tragedy. 

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A complaint filed with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, and later withdrawn, described a culture of surveillance and fear at Bridgewater Associates in Westport

The pharmaceutical company Pfizer said Friday it will move to prevent its drugs from being used in lethal injections.

When Saudi Arabia executed 47 people last week, it marked an ominous start to surpassing the number of people it put to death last year. Human rights groups believe at least 150 people were executed in the kingdom in 2015. Most were beheaded, killed by firing squad or stoned to death.

Saudi Arabia executed 47 people convicted of terrorism Saturday, including prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr, prompting condemnation throughout the Middle East.

Nimr has been an outspoken advocate for Shiite rights in Saudi Arabia; he also supported opposition protests in the Shiite-majority Eastern Province, reports NPR's Leila Fadel.

Leila tells our Newscast unit:

The cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran turned a lot hotter in the past 48 hours, after the Saudis executed a Shiite cleric accused of terrorism on Saturday and hours later an Iranian mob ransacked and firebombed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.

The death penalty is in decline no matter the measure, a new study released by the Death Penalty Information Center has found.

The report found that 28 people were executed this year, the lowest since 1991. The number of death sentences dropped by 33 percent.

Only six states executed convicts during the year, and Texas, Missouri and Georgia accounted for 86 percent of the executions.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

   

A judge in 17th century Connecticut ruled on the thorniest of problems. Some of these included ruling on a piglet’s paternity, who was to blame for faulty shoes, and whether illicit sex had occurred on a boat sailing to Stamford. 

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The Connecticut Supreme Court has rejected a request by state prosecutors to reconsider its landmark decision that eliminated the death penalty.

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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.

The judge in the Boston Marathon bombing trial has rejected a motion brought by The Boston Globe and joined by WBUR to publicly release the names of the trial jurors.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last week, State Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s office unveiled a plan to end a decades-old backlog of state pension audits. 

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Last week, the state Supreme Court issued its ruling on capital punishment and completely repealed it - including for those already on death row. This hour on our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse we talk about the decision and answer your questions about how the state’s judicial system works with guests who will hopefully have answers.

Thomas MacMillan / New Haven Independent

Connecticut's Supreme Court has ruled the state's death penalty is unconstitutional. WNPR spoke to the public defender who represented one of the state's best known death row inmates.

Connecticut Supreme Court Overturns Death Penalty

Aug 14, 2015
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The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of a full repeal of the state's death penalty on Thursday.

The decision comes more than three years after a repeal of the death penalty for crimes committed after the law was enacted. It means that eleven people currently on death row in the state will be spared execution.

One of Alabama's longest-serving death row inmates will go free on Friday after prosecutors acknowledged that there's not enough evidence linking him to the 1985 murders for which he already has served nearly three decades.

More than eight months after Oklahoma officials struggled to perform the execution of a condemned man who eventually died of a heart attack, the state executed another prisoner, Charles Frederick Warner, Thursday night. The Associated Press reports that Warner was declared dead at 7:28 p.m. CST. Warner was convicted in the 1997 rape and beating death of an 11-month-old girl.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

From Nathan Hale to John Brown to lynchings to executions of accused witches, the hangman's noose has played a grim role in American history.

While its usage has declined and changed over time, just in the past week, articles have surfaced about a political flier using a noose as the background that was circulated in a church parking lot in South Carolina, and nooses hanging in rival high schools in California. A police officer in the latter article, Sgt. Martin Acosta, stated, "A noose in itself is not making any correlation to anything." Is that true? Isn't a noose in 2014 an explicit evocation of lynching?

A federal judge has ruled that California's use of the death penalty is dysfunctional and violates the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney's ruling came in response to an appeal by Ernest Dewayne Jones, who was sentenced to death in Los Angeles in 1995 for the rape and killing of his girlfriend's mother three years earlier.

On Sept. 7, 2006, Richard Roszkowski chased after a 9-year-old girl named Kylie Flannery. He shot her three times, ultimately killing her, as well as two adults.

Last month, a Connecticut judge sentenced Roszkowski to death for the crimes — despite the fact that the state eliminated the death penalty in 2012.

"This is a terrible sentence," Judge John Blawie said at the sentencing hearing. "But it is in truth, sir, a sentence you wrote for yourself on Sept. 7, 2006."

CT-N

In 2012, Connecticut repealed the death penalty for crimes committed after the law was changed. That doesn't mean more people won't end up on death row.  A man convicted of a 2006 triple murder was sentenced to death last week. 

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Connecticut has a complicated relationship with the death penalty. Over more than 50 years, the state executed just two death row inmates because they asked for it. Two years ago it was repealed for cases moving forward, but last week, one more man was sentenced to die for a crime he committed before the repeal.

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Connecticut prison officials have confirmed they do not have a supply of any lethal injection drugs or a way to obtain them, even though there are eleven inmates on death row. 

Connecticut Department of Correction

A Connecticut man was sentenced to death for gunning down two adults and a nine-year-old girl on a Bridgeport street in 2006. 

News of Tuesday's botched execution in Oklahoma got us thinking more generally about who is in prison and who is facing the death penalty.

Here are some figures that may surprise you:

Update at 8:19 p.m. ET. Execution Fails:

According to reporters tweeting from inside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma, the execution of Clayton D. Lockett has failed. Lockett died of a heart attack after the execution was aborted.

The execution of Charles Warner, which was supposed to take place at 9 p.m. ET., was stayed by Corrections Director Robert Patton.

According to the AP reporter on the scene, about 34 minutes after the execution was scheduled to begin, Lockett was still conscious.

Dan Malloy Twitter account

It feels a lot like 2004. Both UConn basketball teams are national champions, John Rowland is under investigation, and a Kennedy is in the news! Coming up on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, our panel of reporters and analysts weighs in on the state's relationship with it's flagship university. Governor Dannel Malloy (er - Dan Malloy) is trying to cash in on UConn's success as he runs for re-election.

We also say goodbye to a radio competitor who signed off last week. But we have a feeling that former Governor John Rowland will stay in the news.

Also, several Connecticut restaurants are in trouble for playing music and not paying royalties.

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Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will be in New Haven, where the mayor's race led to special elections that created a political game of musical chairs recently. Our panel of reporters will catch you up on all the week’s news from the Elm City and beyond.

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