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HARTFORD, Conn. - The American Civil Liberties today called the passage late Wednesday by the Connecticut House of a bill to repeal the death penalty in the state the latest sign of growing momentum in favor of ending the use of executions nationwide.
The bill, approved last week by the state Senate, was passed by the House by a vote of 86-62, leaving Connecticut poised to become the 17th state to repeal the death penalty and the fifth state in the past five years to abolish the death penalty. Gov. Daniel P. Malloy has said he will sign the measure into law.
"Tonight's vote is yet another significant indication that people across the nation are recognizing the systemic injustices that plague the entire death penalty system, both in Connecticut and the rest of the United States," said Denny LeBoeuf, director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. "Capital punishment in this country is carried out as part of an unequal system of justice, in which innocent people are too often sentenced to death and decisions about who lives and who dies depend on the skill of their attorneys, the race of their victim, their socioeconomic status and where the crime took place. Such arbitrary and discriminatory administration of the death penalty, which places an enormous financial burden on taxpayers, is the very definition of a failed system and must be ended."
The four other states that have repealed the death penalty in the past five years are New Mexico, Illinois, New York and New Jersey.