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State of NJ Bans Death Penalty


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MSNBC.com:

 

AP-

TRENTON, N.J. - Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed into law Monday a measure that abolishes the death penalty, making New Jersey the first state in more than four decades to reject capital punishment.

 

The bill, approved last week by the state's Assembly and Senate, replaces the death sentence with life in prison without parole.

 

"This is a day of progress for us and for the millions of people across our nation and around the globe who reject the death penalty as a moral or practical response to the grievous, even heinous, crime of murder," Corzine said.

 

The measure spares eight men on the state's death row. On Sunday, Corzine signed orders commuting the sentences of those eight to life in prison without parole.

 

Among the eight spared is Jesse Timmendequas, a sex offender who murdered 7-year-old Megan Kanka in 1994. The case inspired Megan's Law, which requires law enforcement agencies to notify the public about convicted sex offenders living in their communities.

 

New Jersey reinstated the death penalty in 1982 ? six years after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to resume executions ? but it hasn't executed anyone since 1963.

 

The state's move is being hailed across the world as a historic victory against capital punishment. Rome plans to shine golden light on the Colosseum in support. Once the arena for deadly gladiator combat and executions, the Colosseum is now a symbol of the fight against the death penalty.

 

"The rest of America, and for that matter the entire world, is watching what we are doing here today," said Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo, a Democrat. "New Jersey is setting a precedent that I'm confident other states will follow."

 

The bill passed the Legislature largely along party lines, with controlling Democrats supporting the abolition and minority Republicans opposed. Republicans had sought to retain the death penalty for those who murder law enforcement officials, rape and murder children, and terrorists, but Democrats rejected that.

 

"It's simply a specious argument to say that, somehow, after six millennia of recorded history, the punishment no longer fits the crime," said Assemblyman Joseph Malone, a Republican.

 

Members of victims' families fought against the law.

 

"I will never forget how I've been abused by a state and a governor that was supposed to protect the innocent and enforce the laws," said Marilyn Flax, whose husband Irving was abducted and murdered in 1989 by death row inmate John Martini Sr.

 

Iowa, West Virginia last states to abolish death penalty

The last states to eliminate the death penalty were Iowa and West Virginia in 1965, according to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

 

The nation has executed 1,099 people since the U.S. Supreme Court reauthorized the death penalty in 1976. In 1999, 98 people were executed, the most since 1976; last year 53 people were executed, the lowest since 1996.

 

Other states have considered abolishing the death penalty recently, but none has advanced as far as New Jersey.

 

The nation's last execution was Sept. 25 in Texas. Since then, executions have been delayed pending a U.S. Supreme Court decision on whether execution through lethal injection violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

 

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Good news, at least to me. :thumbup

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MSNBC.com:

 

AP-

TRENTON, N.J. - Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed into law Monday a measure that abolishes the death penalty, making New Jersey the first state in more than four decades to reject capital punishment.

 

The bill, approved last week by the state's Assembly and Senate, replaces the death sentence with life in prison without parole.

 

"This is a day of progress for us and for the millions of people across our nation and around the globe who reject the death penalty as a moral or practical response to the grievous, even heinous, crime of murder," Corzine said.

 

The measure spares eight men on the state's death row. On Sunday, Corzine signed orders commuting the sentences of those eight to life in prison without parole.

 

Among the eight spared is Jesse Timmendequas, a sex offender who murdered 7-year-old Megan Kanka in 1994. The case inspired Megan's Law, which requires law enforcement agencies to notify the public about convicted sex offenders living in their communities.

 

New Jersey reinstated the death penalty in 1982 ? six years after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to resume executions ? but it hasn't executed anyone since 1963.

 

The state's move is being hailed across the world as a historic victory against capital punishment. Rome plans to shine golden light on the Colosseum in support. Once the arena for deadly gladiator combat and executions, the Colosseum is now a symbol of the fight against the death penalty.

 

"The rest of America, and for that matter the entire world, is watching what we are doing here today," said Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo, a Democrat. "New Jersey is setting a precedent that I'm confident other states will follow."

 

The bill passed the Legislature largely along party lines, with controlling Democrats supporting the abolition and minority Republicans opposed. Republicans had sought to retain the death penalty for those who murder law enforcement officials, rape and murder children, and terrorists, but Democrats rejected that.

 

"It's simply a specious argument to say that, somehow, after six millennia of recorded history, the punishment no longer fits the crime," said Assemblyman Joseph Malone, a Republican.

 

Members of victims' families fought against the law.

 

"I will never forget how I've been abused by a state and a governor that was supposed to protect the innocent and enforce the laws," said Marilyn Flax, whose husband Irving was abducted and murdered in 1989 by death row inmate John Martini Sr.

 

Iowa, West Virginia last states to abolish death penalty

The last states to eliminate the death penalty were Iowa and West Virginia in 1965, according to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

 

The nation has executed 1,099 people since the U.S. Supreme Court reauthorized the death penalty in 1976. In 1999, 98 people were executed, the most since 1976; last year 53 people were executed, the lowest since 1996.

 

Other states have considered abolishing the death penalty recently, but none has advanced as far as New Jersey.

 

The nation's last execution was Sept. 25 in Texas. Since then, executions have been delayed pending a U.S. Supreme Court decision on whether execution through lethal injection violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

 

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Good news, at least to me. :thumbup

Why, you planning on committing a capital crime?

 

Because the only one's who this is good news for are criminals that live in the trash state.

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Oh please. The death penalty is a joke of a deterrent. Plus, rotting in prison for your life is far worse than a swift and mercy death like that.

 

Is it really? I'm not in particular favorite of capital punishment but neither am I really opposed to it. I think being a life is far better than dead even under giving circumstances..

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Oh please. The death penalty is a joke of a deterrent. Plus, rotting in prison for your life is far worse than a swift and mercy death like that.

 

Is it really? I'm not in particular favorite of capital punishment but neither am I really opposed to it. I think being a life is far better than death even under giving circumstances..

It's also embarassing that we are the most looked-to country on the planet, and yet we still execute people. Many countries in Europe banned that practice a long time ago.

 

If you've ever been in a prison (not as a prisoner) or have watched programs about prison, you might change your mind that life in prison is a better thing than capital punishment. It's a living hell, especially for those who are there for the remainder of their lives.

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The death penalty is immoral and barbaric. It's actually pretty surprising to me that this country still does it at all. Then again, we torture people, so maybe I shouldn't be all that surprised.

 

And just to add...there are a lot of issues where I can definitely see where the other side is coming from. In fact, I'd say that's the case with nearly every issue. But not this one. I don't understand how people support the death penalty. I've heard all the arguments and none of them register with me.

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I do not know whether I support the death penalty or not, but it's only because I feel like innocent people being executed is a horrible possibilty (and yes it has happened).

 

 

I find a paradox in the liberals who can't learn to think for themselves saying "the death penalty is harsh, barbaric, archaic, etc" and then saying "besides, rotting in prison for the rest of your life is worse!"

 

What the hell's up with that?

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Why, you planning on committing a capital crime?

 

Because the only one's who this is good news for are criminals that live in the trash state.

 

*sigh* Not surprised by this response.

 

Like a few others here, I'm on the fence as well about capital punishment. I see some merit for it in heinous crimes but I also feel that the negatives in general outweigh the positives. I don't think that capital punishment is a deterrent for criminals in any way, shape, or form so the issue comes down to revenge and possibly a form of closure for the victims and their families. I am also troubled by the fact that it allows certain individuals to "play god" and determine whether someone has the right to live. Finally, Dodge stated that innocent people have been executed in the past, which I have read a bit about in university, and that in itself is just a tragedy.

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Oh please. The death penalty is a joke of a deterrent. Plus, rotting in prison for your life is far worse than a swift and mercy death like that.

 

Is it really? I'm not in particular favorite of capital punishment but neither am I really opposed to it. I think being a life is far better than death even under giving circumstances..

It's also embarassing that we are the most looked-to country on the planet, and yet we still execute people. Many countries in Europe banned that practice a long time ago.

 

If you've ever been in a prison (not as a prisoner) or have watched programs about prison, you might change your mind that life in prison is a better thing than capital punishment. It's a living hell, especially for those who are there for the remainder of their lives.

You are so far out there in left field. Yes - it's so embarassing that we execute people that brutally rape, murder, and mutilate children.

 

It's embarassing that we execute people and then you have the audacity to try and use "european countries" as a moral example that we should follow? Are you kidding me?

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Oh please. The death penalty is a joke of a deterrent. Plus, rotting in prison for your life is far worse than a swift and mercy death like that.

 

Is it really? I'm not in particular favorite of capital punishment but neither am I really opposed to it. I think being a life is far better than death even under giving circumstances..

It's also embarassing that we are the most looked-to country on the planet, and yet we still execute people. Many countries in Europe banned that practice a long time ago.

 

If you've ever been in a prison (not as a prisoner) or have watched programs about prison, you might change your mind that life in prison is a better thing than capital punishment. It's a living hell, especially for those who are there for the remainder of their lives.

You are so far out there in left field. Yes - it's so embarassing that we execute people that brutally rape, murder, and mutilate children.

 

It's embarassing that we execute people and then you have the audacity to try and use "european countries" as a moral example that we should follow? Are you kidding me?

We're just stooping down to the level of the criminals themselves. In some cases, they WANT to die anyway. No point in giving them what they want.

 

One of my biggest problems with the system is the high number of innocent people who have been executed. That's just unacceptable. If you can't even guarantee that the person you are executing is guilty, then you certainly shouldn't be putting them to death.

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If based on emotion and bravado, the removal of another human is the most uncivil irrational thing we are capable of doing. It is a purely emotional action that puts us right next the person who we are killing because we made a choice based on emotion and not on rational thought. The killer did the same thing when he took someone else's life, ie made a decision based on emotion rather than rational thought.

 

Of course the placement of a person in a cell is the same if based on emotion. Punishment based on emotion is contrary to our evolution of thought and rationality.

 

But the truth is, we are emotional imperfect creatures. We have to admit that we are not evolved to the point of being more rational than emotional.

 

Some of us, ahem...cough cough, more than others.

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You are so far out there in left field. Yes - it's so embarassing that we execute people that brutally rape, murder, and mutilate children.

 

It's embarassing that we execute people and then you have the audacity to try and use "european countries" as a moral example that we should follow? Are you kidding me?

 

How dare you have an opinion contrary to Accord's, FutureGM. What are you, some kind of baby raping idiot?

 

It's called an opinion, Accord. Learn to deal with it.

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You are so far out there in left field. Yes - it's so embarassing that we execute people that brutally rape, murder, and mutilate children.

 

It's embarassing that we execute people and then you have the audacity to try and use "european countries" as a moral example that we should follow? Are you kidding me?

 

How dare you have an opinion contrary to Accord's, FutureGM. What are you, some kind of baby raping idiot?

 

It's called an opinion, Accord. Learn to deal with it.

:notworthy :notworthy :lol

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I just opined on this on another board - I'll modify for here as well.......

 

i support the death penalty under condition

 

unfortunately our legal system is imperfect (not horrible on the average, but imperfect none the less) - due to this the death penalty should be used for certain crimes where there is either an admission of guilt with basic evidence or any case that uses hard evidence like DNA to convict

 

i would have the jury recommend and a judge confirm

 

at this point there would be a state controlled review board - if they find the admission and evidence or the dna like hard evidence to provide sufficient proof of guilt then an execution would be carried out swiftly

 

our penal system is messed up as well - the high level of violent criminals only make jails that much more unsafe and completely negate any potential rehabilitation - if you are in for life without parole then what is your incentive to act right? - why wouldn't you try to control what you can, murder, run drugs and get any power/control that you can - after all you are going to die in prison anyway

 

also solitary confinement has shown to be very inhumane - instead of just killing someone you make them go progressively more crazy of a period of years - look into eastern state pen. in philadelphia - they were a pure iso prison - lots of issues (albeit it was the early 1900s) - it's a contridiction to state that the death penatly is inhumane, but caging people and letting their brains turn to mush is A-OK

 

there needs to be a strong level of penal reform and it ties into the justice system as well with things like mandatory sentencing

 

prisons are overcrowded - there is little reform for non violent offenders and little incentive for violent offenders to change their ways

 

the two issues really cannot be separated - but I have no qualms with ending the life of someone who chooses to heinously end the life of another - at this point you've lost the right to live in the pack and be a part of our civilization

 

if it is civilized to accept and not punish to the higher form actions such as raping and murdering an infant then I want no part of being civilized

 

i also don't look to europe as an example - this is a part of the world that gets a lot of credit for being advanced, but is still mired in racism, civil wars, poverty and as many social ills as the US

 

justice can be punitive and accepting this doesn't make you barberic, unevolved or ignorant

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Oh please. The death penalty is a joke of a deterrent. Plus, rotting in prison for your life is far worse than a swift and mercy death like that.

 

Is it really? I'm not in particular favorite of capital punishment but neither am I really opposed to it. I think being a life is far better than death even under giving circumstances..

It's also embarassing that we are the most looked-to country on the planet, and yet we still execute people. Many countries in Europe banned that practice a long time ago.

 

If you've ever been in a prison (not as a prisoner) or have watched programs about prison, you might change your mind that life in prison is a better thing than capital punishment. It's a living hell, especially for those who are there for the remainder of their lives.

You are so far out there in left field. Yes - it's so embarassing that we execute people that brutally rape, murder, and mutilate children.

 

It's embarassing that we execute people and then you have the audacity to try and use "european countries" as a moral example that we should follow? Are you kidding me?

We're just stooping down to the level of the criminals themselves. In some cases, they WANT to die anyway. No point in giving them what they want.

 

One of my biggest problems with the system is the high number of innocent people who have been executed. That's just unacceptable. If you can't even guarantee that the person you are executing is guilty, then you certainly shouldn't be putting them to death.

Stooping down to their level? No.

 

If someone does something heinous to a member of my family or someone that I love, they will die and no US Marshal or protective custody program would be able to protect them. Period.

 

Whether it's by the criminal justice system or good old fashioned vigilante justice, they'll get what they deserve and if the criminal justice system is incapable of doing it, I will.

 

And if some slap happy flower child like you thinks i'm just as bad as the criminals themselves, I really don't care.

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An execution does not bring a society down to the level of a brutal murderer, and it is spurious to say so. One can argue, and I would agree, that the death penalty is improperly imposed in the United States. IMO one must be absolutely certain, without any doubt whatsoever (even an unreasonable doubt) to sentence somebody to death. Only the most heinous crimes, with unrecoverable consequences (death for instance) should be eligible for the death penalty, and the punishment should be used sparingly.

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The death penalty is immoral and barbaric. It's actually pretty surprising to me that this country still does it at all. Then again, we torture people, so maybe I shouldn't be all that surprised.

 

And just to add...there are a lot of issues where I can definitely see where the other side is coming from. In fact, I'd say that's the case with nearly every issue. But not this one. I don't understand how people support the death penalty. I've heard all the arguments and none of them register with me.

 

 

 

:confused

 

 

Whah?

 

 

You can't see why a mother and father would want the person that murdered their child to have the same fate?

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I'm on the fence. It's one of those issues I think everyone struggles with at some point. In very rare cases I'm probably okay with it, but the problem becomes how in the world do you draw that line?? How is one murder enough to deserve execution but another one isn't quite heinous enough?

 

I would rather not use it at all than risk executing an innocent person. Life in prison might not quell the thirst for vengeance or give the victim's family closure, but as long as the killer is separated from the rest of us with no chance of it happening again, I think that's what's important to society.

 

Which is the harsher punishment isn't clear, and as PhxPhin and Penguino mentioned it could vary. But it seems odd to argue one is a harsher punishment than the other as a rationale for why we should use it. If pain and suffering were the ultimate goal I think we'd be doing a lot more than a lethal injection. We'd bring back ole' sparky. Or worse.

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Oh please. The death penalty is a joke of a deterrent. Plus, rotting in prison for your life is far worse than a swift and mercy death like that.

 

Is it really? I'm not in particular favorite of capital punishment but neither am I really opposed to it. I think being a life is far better than death even under giving circumstances..

It's also embarassing that we are the most looked-to country on the planet, and yet we still execute people. Many countries in Europe banned that practice a long time ago.

 

If you've ever been in a prison (not as a prisoner) or have watched programs about prison, you might change your mind that life in prison is a better thing than capital punishment. It's a living hell, especially for those who are there for the remainder of their lives.

You are so far out there in left field. Yes - it's so embarassing that we execute people that brutally rape, murder, and mutilate children.

 

It's embarassing that we execute people and then you have the audacity to try and use "european countries" as a moral example that we should follow? Are you kidding me?

We're just stooping down to the level of the criminals themselves. In some cases, they WANT to die anyway. No point in giving them what they want.

 

One of my biggest problems with the system is the high number of innocent people who have been executed. That's just unacceptable. If you can't even guarantee that the person you are executing is guilty, then you certainly shouldn't be putting them to death.

 

Who are the high number of innocent people who have been executed? I've heard stories of the possibility of someone being innocent, and maybe this is enough for one to be against capital punishment, but I've never heard of any clear-cut evidence of a person put to death who was not guilty.

 

And I would think life in prison would be more sufferable than a quick death, but if that were the case, why do so many convicted killers (and their lawyers) fight for their lives in court?

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