Connecticut’s Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday on whether the state’s death penalty repeal violates the constitutional rights of inmates currently on death row. The law ends capital punishment for all future crimes.
When Connecticut repealed the death penalty last year, the change was “prospective”, not retroactive.
That means capital punishment is abolished for future cases, but not for inmates already facing execution.
Now, the state’s Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Eduardo Santiago, who was sentenced to death before the repeal.
Defense lawyers say execution now would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The state argues that legislators voted for the law with an understanding that it was for future cases only.
Many observers say this condition was key to passage of the law.
For NPR News, I’m Diane Orson in New Haven.