AP reports, "Connecticut death penalty case delayed pending appeal." It's via the Middletown Press.
A West Hartford death penalty case won't move forward until after the state Supreme Court decides whether Connecticut's repeal of capital punishment last year is constitutional, a judge ruled Monday.
Hartford Superior Court Judge Joan Alexander postponed proceedings in Eduardo Santiago's case and scheduled a status conference in October.
Santiago, 33, was sentenced to lethal injection in 2005 for the murder-for-hire killing of 45-year-old Joseph Niwinski in West Hartford in 2000. But the state Supreme Court overturned the death sentence and ordered a new penalty phase last year, saying the trial judge wrongly withheld key evidence from the jury regarding the severe abuse Santiago suffered while growing up.
The Supreme Court ruling came two months after the state abolished the death penalty for murders committed after April 24, 2012, leaving Santiago and the 10 other men on death row still facing execution.
The Supreme Court, in another appeal brought by Santiago's lawyers, is now deciding whether the death penalty repeal for future murders violates the constitutional rights of the 11 death row inmates. A ruling isn't expected for at least several months.
Earlier coverage of Eduardo Santiago's case begins at the link.
"Taxpayers' Costs Top $3.5 Million For Death Row Inmates' Lawsuit," is the Hartford Courant report by Jon Lender.
The cost to taxpayers of a long-running racial-bias lawsuit by death-row inmates has topped $3.5 million, with more possible before an expected judge's ruling within a few months — and then a possible appeal by whoever loses.
News coverage of the habeas corpus lawsuit in state Superior Court has centered on the trial late last year of claims by five convicted killers that Connecticut's death penalty is biased racially, ethnically and geographically.
The Courant made a Freedom of Information Act request for records of how much the litigation has cost taxpayers since the lawsuit was filed eight years ago.
The inmates pursuing the bias suit want their sentences converted to life imprisonment without parole. The trial of the case ended in December and Judge Samuel J. Sferrazza is expected to render a decision within several months.
The trial was conducted for more than 10 days from September to December in a makeshift courtroom inside Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, which houses the state's 11 death-row inmates. The 11 men on death row still face execution despite the state legislature's abolition of the death penalty in 2012. The abolition doesn't apply to people already on death row whose crimes predated the legislation.
Earlier coverage of the Connecticut racial bias trial begins at the link