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Death Penalty Repeal Gives Defense Lawyers New Opening

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(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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By DAVE COLLINS
Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Defense lawyers are expected to challenge this week’s repeal of Connecticut’s death penalty. That’s because it only applies to future crimes and leaves current death row inmates and defendants in pending capital felony cases subject to possible execution.

Legal experts say the repeal law signed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday raises a new issue – whether the constitutional right to equal protection would be violated by applying the death penalty differently to felons previously convicted.

Prosecutors, defense lawyers and law professors say they expect state courts to eventually decide on the law’s constitutionality.

The repeal may be tested by the case of Richard Roszkowski, who faces the death penalty phase of his trial later this year for a 2006 Bridgeport triple murder.

     (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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