Connecticut Supreme Court Denies Reargument In Death Penalty Abolition Case

Over the strong dissent of three justices, the Connecticut Supreme Court today denied the State’s motion for reargument in State v. Santiago, the case decided last August which abolished the death penalty in Connecticut. Click here for my previous posts on the decision.

The denial of the motion for reargument is not unusual.  What is unusual is the written dissent from the ruling and its publication on the Judicial Branch’s website.  Decisions are always posted on the website; rulings on motions are not.

The Chief Justice, joined by Justices Zarella and Espinosa–the three justices who dissented from the original ruling–did not hold back in her strong criticism of the majority for deciding the case on grounds that were never raised and for refusing to allow the State to be heard on those grounds:

Thus, the state has emphatically confirmed the validity of the dissents’ repeated warnings that the majority was going far beyond the narrow issues raised by the defendant in reaching its ultimate conclusion. In a final effort to conceal the embarrassing and now undeniable fact that the emperor has no clothes, the majority has denied the state’s motion. I emphatically disagree. It is crystal clear to me that the most basic requirement of due process—the requirement for notice and a hearing—entitles the state to an opportunity to be heard on these matters. See Blumberg
Associates Worldwide, Inc. v. Brown & Brown of Connecticut, Inc., 311 Conn. 123, 162–63, 84 A.3d 840 (2014).

UPDATE:  I’ve just learned that the Supreme Court has granted the State’s motion for permission to file supplemental briefs in State v. Peeler, another death penalty case that has the potential to “undo” the Santiago decision.  See my prior post on the significance of the Peeler case.



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