When the Connecticut Supreme Court issued its recent 4-3 decision in State v. Santiago striking down the death penalty in Connecticut, most people thought that was the end of the story–whether they agreed with the decision or not.
I’m not so sure.
will may be my last post concerning the Connecticut Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision last week in State v. Santiago abolishing the death penalty entirely. As a death penalty opponent, I should be pleased with the result. As a lawyer who cares deeply about the rule of law, I have very serious doubts about the reasoning behind the majority’s decision.
On June 3, the Connecticut Supreme Court officially released its decision in State v. Elson, one of less than a handful of cases in Connecticut history in which the Supreme Court reversed a trial judge after concluding that he had not committed an error of law or fact. (State v. Ubaldi and State v. Santiago are the only other cases of which I’m aware.) No trial judge likes to get reversed, but all trial judges understand that the potential for reversal comes with the job. However, for an appellate court to reverse a trial judge after concluding that he or she did not commit a legal error must really hurt.