(Reuters) - Connecticut's top court on Thursday ruled that the state could no longer impose the death penalty, saying that under the state's constitution it amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.
The decision followed a 2012 state law that abolished capital punishment for crimes committed after that date but allowed it to be imposed for crimes previously committed.
"We are persuaded 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," Connecticut Supreme Court justices wrote in Thursday's ruling.
"For these reasons, execution of those offenders who committed capital felonies prior to April 25, 2012, would violate the state constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment."
(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Will Dunham)