State v. Santiago




Connecticut Supreme Court

Citation and Year

122 A.3d 1 (2015)

Constitutional Provision or State Statute

CONN. CONST. Art. I, §§ 8, 9 (“No person shall be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law”); (“No person shall be arrested, detained or punished, except in cases clearly warranted by law”).

Nature of Case

In 2012, Connecticut prospectively repealed the death penalty for all crimes committed on or after that date. In this case, the Connecticut Supreme Court considered whether executing people for crimes committed before the death penalty’s repeal would violate the state constitution.


Executing those already sentenced to death is barred by the state constitution after the Connecticut state legislature prospectively abolished the death penalty.


The court considered this question “in light of the governing constitutional principles and Connecticut’s unique historical and legal landscape,” and found that, “following its prospective abolition, this state’s death penalty no longer comports with contemporary standards of decency and no longer serves any legitimate penological purpose.”