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Connecticut's highest court overturns state's death penalty

Prisoners on death row no longer face execution

Erik S. Lesser/Getty Images

The top court in Connecticut overturned the state's death penalty today, ruling that it is unconstitutional, the Associated Press reports.

11 prisoners no longer face execution

Although the state already repealed the death penalty through a law passed in 2012, that law applied only to future crimes, not those committed before the law was passed. The court's new ruling, however, means 11 prisoners currently on death row no longer face execution, making life in prison the maximum sentence.

As the AP explains, the court's ruling came through appeal from a prisoner who faced a possible execution by lethal injection following a murder in 2000. The attorneys in the case argued that executing their client following the repeal of the death penalty in the state was unconstitutional. In a split 4–3 decision, the court sided with those attorneys.

According to the AP, the court's majority opinion ruled that "execution of those offenders who committed capital felonies prior to April 25th, 2012, would violate the state constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment."