HARTFORD- State Representative Alfred Adinolfi (R-Cheshire) today voted in favor of continued strong laws to keep violent offenders off Connecticut streets and against repealing the death penalty.
Adinolfi said he is concerned those constitutional challenges will reopen the pain and suffering of victim’s families if new trials are especially those of the Cheshire murderers Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky. He is also concerned these changes will have unintended consequences and could allow some violent offenders to be placed in the general prison population, make them eligible for early release or remove a strong deterrent to prevent people already in prison from committing violent crimes while they are incarcerated.
S.B. 280: An Act Revising The Penalty For Capital Felonies eliminates the death penalty as a sentencing option for a capital felony committed on or after the bill’s effective date, thus leaving life imprisonment without the possibility of release as the penalty and renames the crime of capital felony as murder with special circumstances.
“It’s disingenuous to say you can prospectively repeal the death penalty but still execute those who are already on Death Row. There is an exhaustive history of existing law that suggests the obvious argument that it would be untenable as a matter of constitutional law or public policy to execute someone today who could not be executed for committing the same conduct at a date in the future,” said Adinolfi.
“I believe the death penalty if applied fairly and justly is an appropriate punishment. A death sentence permanently removes the worst and most heinous criminals from society and proves much safer for the rest of the law-biding citizens than the long term or permanent incarceration of that individual. It is self evident that dead criminals cannot commit any further crimes, either within prison or after escaping or after being released from one,” said Adinolfi.
During debate, Rep Adinolfi asked what sentence does some one in prison for life without the possibility of parole kills a correction officer. The answer was, “he will receive a more restricted incarceration.
Adinolfi said, “How sad for the families of murdered correction officer. When will the majority party vote for what the majority of their constituents’ request?”
Last year, the highly regarded Quinnipiac University Polling Institute stated that 67 percent of Connecticut residents were in favor of the death penalty versus 28 percent opposed. Those numbers are a steady increase from previous years which demonstrates the majority of Connecticut residents oppose changes to current law.