Death Penalty

Conn. Death Penalty Hearing Held in Prison Gym

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Security concerns forced a Connecticut judge considering the constitutionality of the state’s death penalty to hold the hearing in a prison gymnasium.

“Judge Stanley T. Fuger Jr. of superior court usually presides over his cases in a courthouse,” the New York Times writes. “But with seven of the nine residents of Connecticut’s death row expected to appear before him—defending their claims that Connecticut’s death penalty discriminates against minorities—state officials had deemed no courthouse secure enough.”

Lawyers for the inmates had to pass background checks, and were not allowed to bring cell phones, Blackberrys or paper clips to the hearing, the newspaper says. Only five death-row inmates turned out for the hearing. They were shackled and separated by makeshift cubicles.

Lawyers for the inmates are relying on a new report by Yale Law School professor John Donohue III that finds the state applies the death penalty in an almost random fashion.

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