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Death penalty ruling may pave way for national abolitionists

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A view of the death chamber from the witness room at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility shows an electric chair and gurney August 29, 2001 in Lucasville, Ohio.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court this week found the death penalty no longer meets society’s evolving standards of decency, a state constitutional ruling that legal experts say could be influential nationwide.

Thursday’s decision came months after Nebraska passed a law outlawing capital punishment, one of seven states to ban executions in the past decade.

Kevin Barry, a Quinnipiac University law professor who has written extensively on the death penalty, says he believes the U.S. Supreme Court will look closely at the Connecticut decision when it decides whether to take on the issue this fall.