NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous Decry Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell for Veto of Anti-Death Penalty LegislationJune 04, 2009
HARTFORD, CT—NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous joined with Connecticut House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan to condemn Governor Jodi Rell’s veto of HB-6578.
The NAACP Connecticut State Conference launched a campaign in support of the bill which would have replaced the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole for all capital felonies committed after the bill’s enactment. The bill was recently passed by the Connecticut Judiciary Committee and by both the House and the Senate, but can be vetoed by Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
“Governor Rell’s veto of legislation will send innocent people to death row. The State of Connecticut should invest the millions of dollars that death penalty cases cost into fighting crime,” said Jealous. “The subjectivity and racial and socioeconomic disparities in death row sentencing cannot be ignored. The cases of Troy Davis, Reggie Clemons, and countless other innocent men wrongfully sentenced to death must give pause to those with even a trace of moral consciousness.”
Financial statistics show that it costs taxpayers more to execute a prisoner than sentence them to life without parole. A study by Duke University, for example, found that the death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million per execution over the costs of sentencing murderers to life imprisonment. The majority of those costs occur at the trial level.
Several statistics suggest that Connecticut’s death penalty is applied in a discriminatory and arbitrary manner. A recent NAACP study shows that, among states with at least 10 death row inmates, Connecticut is tied with Texas in having the highest percentage of death row inmates who are minorities, at 70%. Half of the state’s 10 death row inmates come from one town, Waterbury, which makes up only 3% of the state’s population.
Other notables who attended the press conference opposing the Governor's veto were Connecticut NAACP President Scot X Esdaile, State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, State Rep. Jason Rojas, ACLU of Connecticut Executive Director Andrew Schneider, and Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty Executive Director Ben Jones (CNADP).
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.