ROCKVILLE, Conn. (AP) _ A judge has ruled that the state’s recent repeal of the death penalty can’t be raised as an issue in a long-running lawsuit by death row inmates challenging the fairness of capital punishment in Connecticut.

Superior Court Judge Samuel Sferrazza (sfer-AH’-zah) in Rockville said in Thursday’s decision that there’s no reason to add the repeal issue at such a late stage in the lawsuit because inmates can file new appeals raising the issue. The lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in September.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and state lawmakers repealed the death penalty this year, but it only applies to future crimes.

The seven-year-old lawsuit claims the state’s process for deciding when to seek the death penalty in murder cases was fraught with racial and geographic biases.

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


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