The Stamford Advocate has, "Lawmaker tries to abolish death penalty," reported by Brian Lockhart.
The General Assembly's lengthy debate on criminal justice reforms was expected to be stretched a little longer last night by one lawmaker's crusade to abolish the death penalty.
State Rep. William Dyson, D-New Haven, planned to introduce an amendment on the floor of the House of Representatives to replace the death penalty with a sentence of life in prison.
"It's germane to the issue we have before us," Dyson said in an interview yesterday afternoon.
A spokesman for House Speaker James Amann, D-Milford, said he could not stop Dyson from bringing up the amendment even though most agreed it would not be passed.
"It's an open floor if Dyson wants to go for it, and it's open for any member to comment," spokesman Lawrence Perosino said.
Legislators who oppose the death penalty did not expect Dyson's proposal would pass.
Lawmakers last debated a bill to abolish the death penalty in 2005 while serial killer Michael Ross faced death by lethal injection.
The House defeated the proposal, 89-60, after a four-hour debate. Ross became the first prisoner since 1960 to be executed in Connecticut.
Dyson has gained a reputation since he was elected in 1976 as a staunch death penalty opponent who will use every opportunity to try to repeal it.
Dyson yesterday acknowledged he had not attempted in recent months to convince his colleagues to consider the death penalty at the same time they addressed other aspects of the criminal justice system.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll released in November, 63 percent of respondents favored the death penalty for individuals convicted of murder - up from 59 percent in 2005.
But when asked in the same November poll whether they favored the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole, the numbers were closer - 47 percent sided with the death penalty and 44 percent chose life in prison.