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5 Conn. inmates challenging death penalty

Connecticut death row inmates who have sued the state to get their sentences overturned argue that race and geographic bias played a part in their prosecution.

Five of the 11 men on Connecticut's death row are plaintiffs. They claim their penalty was arbitrary and discriminatory.

Their lawsuit went to trial Wednesday at the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers.

Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane, the first witness, said while he was the New London state's attorney from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s he relied on state law and court rulings in prosecuting death penalty cases. He says there were no written policies on doing so.

The inmates cite a study that concluded that minorities accused of murdering white victims are three times more likely to receive a death sentence as defendants in white-on-white murder cases.

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