State Sen. Andrew Roraback. whose district includes New Milford, Brookfield and
Kent, was the only Republican senator in 2009 to vote to repeal the death
penalty in Connecticut.
At the time, we lauded the state senator from Goshen for adhering to his
That bill passed the House and the Senate that year but was vetoed by then-Gov.
M. Jodi Rell, a Republican from Brookfield.
Now, in 2012, the General Assembly is again debating a repeal of the death
penalty -- a measure that we believe is necessary and long overdue.
What is different this time is that the new governor supports repeal. Gov.
Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, said he would sign the bill as long as it
contains the provision that it would not be retroactive.
What is also different this time is that Roraback, too, has a provision. He
said this week that he will vote to repeal the death penalty only if it
contains his amendment to repeal certain parole conditions.
The Roraback amendment would overturn a bill passed last year that provides an
early release program -- retroactively to 2005 -- for prisoners, even some
convicted of violent crimes, such as rape.
"Promises were made to the victims and their families" at the time of
sentencing, Roraback said this week, and he thinks those promises should be
What also is different this time is that Roraback is seeking the Republican
nomination for the 5th Congressional District, and his position now could be
seen as softening support for death penalty repeal in order to gain broader GOP
appeal. Cheshire, where a mother and 2 daughters were brutally murdered 5 years
ago -- their 2 killers wait on death row -- is in the 5th District.
One of Roraback's fellow Republican challengers for the congressional
nomination, Lisa Wilson-Foley of Avon, is jumping on his amendment, claiming
that "people who serve in elective office should have principles and not
bargain them away for political ends."
Wilson-Foley is off base on this criticism.
We believe that Roraback, who said he believes as strongly in repealing the new
retroactive parole conditions as he does in eradicating the death penalty,
We believe that Roraback, an 18-year veteran in the General Assembly, is a
pragmatic politician who is leveraging his clout in the Senate on the death
penalty repeal to gain votes for his amendment.
That may well be the way bills get passed.
But Roraback's amendment -- which is worthwhile -- should be attached to a
We believe that repeal of the death penalty is too important -- it is ethically
imperative -- to be jeopardized.
(source: News Times)