State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) released the following statement re: The Repeal of the Death Penalty in Connecticut

April 5, 2012

“The fact remains that Connecticut’s death penalty is rarely used- only once in the last 52 years. The majority of Connecticut’s residents has historically supported the death penalty and continues to do so.

“In weighing all the issues surrounding this bill, I have to fall on the side of the public and law enforcement, some who serve with us in this chamber, those that have to face the danger of losing their life on a daily basis. If it deters just one person from putting a gun in their face and pulling the trigger, I can live with the vote that I am about to make.

“I have thought long and hard on this change in policy and had not come to a decision until recently. There has been extensive discussion on when to eliminate Connecticut’s death penalty. If some would vote to keep the death penalty for those currently on death row and remove it going forward, what is the difference going forward as surely there will be other crimes those that affected the Petit family.

“I have also been speaking with law enforcement and correctional officers who feel that a change in the status quo will endanger their lives much more if we change the law. For them the death penalty is a powerful deterrent and a valuable tool in bringing criminals to justice. The graphic details of their days on the job are convincing. I recently heard from a law enforcement officer who observed: ‘In my 32 year career in law enforcement, I have studied serial killers. When caught, they or their lawyers often will give up additional kills they have committed AND locations of bodies in order to bargain the death penalty away from their case.’

“This officer was deeply concerned about losing that leverage that family members of victims claim is vital to helping them receive information on the location of the bodies of their loved ones who have been brutally murdered and ultimately reclaim them.

“Another point they make is that the death penalty is a deterrent to premeditated murders by organized crime.

“There is no question that acts of passion and the actions of murderers under the influence of drugs and or alcohol (we do not currently allow the use of the death penalty for those with mental illness or under the age of 18) can never be deterred.

“However, law enforcement does feel strongly that the death penalty does play a significant factor in preventing premeditated murders committed by organized crime and reducing fatalities within their own ranks, particularly in correctional facilities.

“The Chief States Attorney’s Office has noted that there is a deterrent effect to the death penalty. This leads many to believe that innocent lives may be saved in having a death penalty on the books.”