Please support CNADP today

Dec 3, 2013

Dear Friends,

CNADP won a major victory in 2012 when after years of dedicated hard work abolition was achieved here in Connecticut. This was a long term and collective effort. In the past year and a half, however, we have had to face some factors that complicate our work.

It is because of these obstacles that support from individuals like you is as important as ever. Foundations that once provided the grant funding allowing us to hire staff, including me, have switched their focus and support to states that have a real chance of soon achieving abolition like Delaware, Kansas, and Nebraska. In response, CNADP downsized to a smaller and less expensive office space in March and we wrote grants through the summer to obtain the funding needed to keep me as half time project staff. Unfortunately we were not successful. In December we are closing the office and I am leaving as staff.

Now, I could understand if you feel sad or worried about what will happen with the death penalty in Connecticut and possible reinstatement.  The truth is abolitionists here should be concerned. Those who support executions did not just give up and go away. Two pieces of reinstatement legislation were filed in the Connecticut House and Senate in the 2013 Legislative session. The bills did not gain any traction and languished quietly in the Judiciary Committee until the session ended.

From the day those bills were filed CNADP was aware of them and carefully monitored their progress and then languishing in the Judiciary Committee. We chose to stay behind the scenes in our efforts and stood ready to respond if it had become necessary. We know that those who support reinstatement of the death penalty in Connecticut will file similar legislation in the upcoming session. This is why it is so important you give generously to CNADP.

Given all the chances for CNADP one thing will not change: our unwavering commitment to keeping Connecticut death free. We will continue to work to educate about the benefits of a death penalty free Connecticut, to expand repeal, and stop all efforts to reinstate capital punishment.

But these things take money. Even without an office or paid staff, we need funds for the basics like gas to travel the state spreading our message and to print educational materials for legislators and community leaders.

CNADP has a core of members and a newly elected board committed to carrying on our over 27 years of organizing and advocacy to abolish the death penalty. Sheila Denion, a long-term board member, has offered to serve as a volunteer Project Director to help facilitate the work and keep our members engaged. It was actually only in 2009 that CNADP started having paid staff, so there is a long and successful tradition of being an all-volunteer organization. Shelia has the experience of working with CNADP when it was an all-volunteer organization. She plans to encourage broad participation from our members and supporters. You will be hearing from her with monthly email updates and opportunities to participate in our work.

Even with our reduced resources, CNADP still does incredible work. In October, CNADP Board members George Kain and Fernando Bermudez barnstormed all over Japan, talking with supporters of abolition there about how we achieved our victory and lending support to their efforts to end the death penalty. George is going back to Rome at the end of November to present a paper on his death penalty research at the World Conference of Justice Ministers. He will also get to join our friends from Maryland as they witness the Coliseum in Rome lit up in honor of their state being the 7th in seven years to vote for abolition!

On a personal note I want to say that my time as Project Director has been great. Our board and members really understand what was needed to obtain the victory in 2012, how to broaden it, and ensure reinstatement does not happen. It has been my honor and pleasure to work with CNADP.

The support of our members has been vital in the past and helped us achieve our remarkable victory in 2012. Many of you were a part of this incredible achievement. Now we need your support to continue our important work. Please take a moment now to affirm your commitment to the work of CNADP by making a tax-deductible donation. Thank you.

Yours in peace and solidarity,
David Amdur
Project Director

Yes! I want to make a contribution to help end Connecticut’s death penalty. Please make checks payable to CNADP/TSNE and include the tax ID#04-2261109.

Please send your contribution to:
CNADP
PO Box 370381
West Hartford, CT 06137
You can also donate safely and securely online at http://www.cnadp.org/donate/

CNADP’s Vision Moving Forward

Since Connecticut repealed the death penalty, many have asked, “What’s next? Is the CNADP going to stick around?” The answer is yes. In the months since repeal, the CNADP staff and board have discussed the organization’s vision moving forward. Repeal of the death penalty was a long sought goal of the CNADP, and it was thrilling to realize this victory. But still there is much work left to do. The following statement provides a summary of the organization’s vision and priorities moving forward in a post-repeal environment.

The CNADP is a statewide grassroots non-profit organization committed to educating the public on the realities of capital punishment, creating a state and nation free of the death penalty, supporting murder victims’ families, and working for reforms to reduce wrongful convictions.

Founded in 1986, the CNADP has grown into a strong network of individuals and organizations working to end capital punishment. Murder victims’ families, law enforcement officials, civil rights leaders, educators, students, people of faith, and others have united around the shared conviction that the death penalty is a poor public policy. The death penalty puts innocent lives at risk of being executed; is biased in its application against the poor, those with mental disabilities, and minorities; fails to deter crime; wastes millions in tax payer dollars; and harms murder victims’ families by prolonging the legal process. Capital punishment’s dismal record, even after decades of reforms, makes clear that there is only one way to fix it – end it.

April 25, 2012, was a historic day for the CNADP. On this day, Connecticut became the 17th state – and the fifth state in five years – to abandon capital punishment. This victory was the culmination of decades of education and advocacy by CNADP’s members, volunteers, and allied organizations. Due to their tireless work, Connecticut’s experiment with capital punishment finally was coming to an end.

The CNADP recognizes that its work is not finished. Connecticut banned the death penalty for future crimes, but kept in place those on Connecticut’s death row and the possibility of future executions. CNADP remains committed to the goal of a state entirely free of the death penalty. Furthermore, the CNADP will work to ensure that the death penalty is never reinstated. By repealing the death penalty, Connecticut has taken an important step forward in its criminal justice policy. We cannot return to the harmful and failed system of the past.

The CNADP has entered a stage in which it will expand the scope of its work, as it puts a greater focus on supporting murder victims’ families and reducing wrongful convictions. Throughout its history the CNADP has worked closely with murder victims’ families and the wrongfully convicted. In February 2012, 179 Connecticut murder victims’ family members called for repeal of the death penalty, citing how the legal process in capital cases inflicts additional harm on them. Those exonerated of crimes of rape and murder in Connecticut likewise spoke out against the death penalty, citing the risk it poses to the innocent. Repeal of the death penalty benefited these two groups by responding to their concerns.

Still, victims’ families and the wrongfully convicted continue to face challenges that need to be addressed. It is a priority of the CNADP to continue working closely murder victims’ families, the wrongfully convicted, and their advocates to support programs and policies that are responsive to their needs.

Finally, the CNADP understands that Connecticut’s repeal of the death penalty was part of a larger national trend. Growing awareness of the death penalty’s flaws has led more individuals across the nation to reject capital punishment. Connecticut experienced firsthand this momentum for repeal. We now have a responsibility to spread this momentum to other states. Toward this goal, the CNADP provides assistance and expertise to other state organizations working to repeal the death penalty.

April 25, 2012: Connecticut Becomes the 17th State to Abandon Capital Punishment!

Statement from CNADP:

Today with Governor Dannel Malloy’s signature of SB 280, Connecticut became the fifth state in five years to end the death penalty. Connecticut’s move is part of a growing trend across the country, as more states continue to repeal the death penalty and death sentences and executions decline nationwide.

During Connecticut’s debate on capital punishment, what clearly emerged was frustration with the state’s death penalty and agreement that the current system is broken. After conscientious review of the state’s death penalty, a bi-partisan majority of Connecticut legislators came to a conclusion that more legal experts, law enforcement officials, and murder victims’ families across the country are reaching: the only way to fix the death penalty is to end it.

Replacing the death penlaty with life in prison without release is a prudent step that will avoid the risk of executing the innocent, save the state millions of dollars, and put an end to lengthy capital cases that prove harmful to murder victims’ family members.

It is fitting that Connecticut will be first the state to repeal the death penalty since the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia last September, which raised doubts about capital punishment across the country. The NAACP and communities of color were leading voices both in calling for a stop to Davis’ execution and for repeal of Connecticut’s death penalty.

Davis’ execution highlighted the role that race continues to play in America’s death penalty, as Georgia executed a black man despite strong doubts concerning his guilt. Racial bias plagues Connecticut’s death penalty, too, as prosecutors are more likely to seek the death penalty when the victim is white than if the victim is a minority. Despite promises of reform, racial bias in the application of capital punishment stubbornly persists.

We deeply thank the Govenor and the Connecticut General Assembly for taking serious the problems inflicted by the death penalty and for taking action to end it. We are proud that our state has repealed the death penalty, and are confident that more states around the country will do the same.

Connecticut Repeals the Death Penalty!

On April 11, 2012, the House of Representatives passed the repeal bill 86-62, receiving bi-partisan support. To all the CNADP members and volunteers – some of whom have been advocating repeal for decades – THANK YOU. Because of your tireless efforts, the dream of repeal has become a reality in CT.

Here is some of the news coverage:
NY Times
Hartford Courant, featuring Sr Mary Healy
NBC Connecticut
Hartford Courant photo gallery
WTNH Channel 8
FoxCT (video)

 

April 10-11: Calling for Repeal in 2012!

After the victory in the Senate last week, community leaders, law enforcemnt, and family members of murder victims joined together in continuing the loud and growing call for repeal.

On April 10, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., and Police Chief Dean Esserman joined mother of a murder victim Victoria Coward in calling for repeal at the New Haven City Hall. Read about it here.

On April 11, a large group of leaders and repeal supporters gathered at the State Capitol before the House vote to urge our Representatives to vote YES on the repeal bill. Those in attendance included religious leaders, family members of murder victims, law enforcement, legislators, and amazing advocates that have been working toward repeal in Connecticut for over 20 years! Read about it here.

CT Senate passes repeal bill 20-16!

Early in the morning of April 5, the Connecticut Senate voted to pass SB 280, the bill to repeal the death penalty, by a margin of 20 to 16. Thank you to all our CNADP members, supporters, and family members of murder victims who stayed in the Senate Gallery until after 2am to show their support! It has been a long day/night/morning, but we are energized for the next step: On to the House!!

Click here to see the tally of how each senator voted.

Help us make sure that the House of Representatives takes us to the finish line-and that Governor Malloy has a bill to sign soon! Send and email to your local Representative using this link.

News coverage: Hartford Courant, CNN

 

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous joins Gov. Malloy in the call for repeal

On Thursday, March 29, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous visited Connecticut to advocate for repeal. He met with legislators and Governor Dannel P. Malloy, calling abolition of the death penalty a priority for the NAACP. Click here to read the Hartford Courant’s coverage of President Jealous’ visit. You can also read the testimony of Connecticut NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile from the Judiciary Committee’s March 14 public hearing on SB 280.

Contact your legislators NOW and urge them to vote for repeal!

SB 280, the bill to repeal the death penalty, could be considered by the Senate and the House soon. Now is the time to contact your legislators, urging them to vote in favor of SB 280! You can send them an email by clicking here.

Judiciary Committee Passes Repeal Bill 24-19!

On Wednesday, March 21, the Judiciary Committee voted to pass Senate Bill 280, the bill to repeal Connecticut’s death penalty! It could proceed to the Senate and the House in the next few weeks. Click here to contact your legislators, urging them to vote for repeal when SB 280 makes its way to the Senate and the House!