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Today, the Connecticut Supreme Court struck down exemptions to the state’s 2012 death penalty ban, which had excluded the 11 inmates currently on death row. In response, James Clark, Amnesty International USA’s senior campaigner on the death penalty, released the following statement:

“Today’s ruling that any use of the death penalty in Connecticut is unconstitutional brings the state closer in line with the majority of the country, which is abandoning the death penalty in law and in practice.

“It’s encouraging that the court determined that the death penalty fails to meet ‘contemporary standards of decency’ and serves no ‘legitimate penological purpose.’ Connecticut can now stand fully among the 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, that have abolished the death penalty.”

Executions and death sentences in the US have plunged in the last decade to historic lows, due largely to the public's increased awareness about glaring flaws inherent to capital punishment. In 2014 only 7 states carried out executions, with 80% of executions taking place in just three states. 

Amnesty International USA opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. As of today, 140 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.