Death row inmates back holding trial in prison
Somers (AP) - Connecticut death row inmates who are suing the state over alleged racial and geographic biases in the state's death penalty are supporting a plan to hold the trial in a prison instead of a courthouse.
Inmates' lawyers said in a court document filed Friday that the plan by state officials was "adequate." The plan calls for the trial to be held at Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, which houses death row, beginning in September and be broadcast via a live video feed to Rockville Superior Court so the public can watch.
The trial would be held in one of the prison's dayrooms, where each inmate and his lawyer would sit together at their own table.
Nine of the 10 men on death row are plaintiffs in the appeal. The state repealed capital punishment for all future crimes earlier this year.
Inmates objected to an earlier plan by the state to hold the trial in Rockville and allow them to watch video feeds in their cells.
The plan to hold the trial in the prison still needs approval by a judge. A hearing on issue is scheduled for July 25 in Rockville.
Racial bias allegations against the death penalty date back to 1991 when Sedrick Cobb raised the issue before the state Supreme Court, which has upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty. Cobb raped and murdered a 23-year-old woman in 1989.
Six death row inmates are black and three are white, when blacks make up only 10 percent of the state's population. Inmates' lawyers also say several inmates on death row were prosecuted in Waterbury, bolstering claims of geographic bias.
The state's last execution was in 2005, when serial killer Michael Ross was given a lethal injection.
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