New Jersey to consider Abolishing Death Penalty Essay

New Jersey to consider Abolishing Death Penalty

            Lawmakers of New Jersey are taking the initial steps to abolish capital punishment in the state that would make it the first to do so since the reinstatement of the death penalty by the Supreme Court in 1976.

            Up for consideration by the State Senate’s Judiciary Committee are two bills providing for life imprisonment without parole as replacement for execution in New Jersey.  In late 2005, a moratorium on death penalty has been passed by legislators.  Sen. Ray Lesniak is the sponsor of one of the two bills.  The Democratic senator thinks a combination of the two will be passed and is confident the legislation would become a law by summer.

            A strong advocate of the death penalty, Sen. Lesniak’s change of mind, he says was largely due to the risk of executing an innocent.  Sen. Nicholas Asselta, a Republican, is for the death penalty.  Sen. Asselta believes that capital punishment is a strong deterrent for worst crimes and that DNA tests would prevent the innocent from being executed in error.  He also predicts the death penalty will be abolished by legislation because a full Senate is controlled by Democrats.  Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, is likewise for scrapping the death penalty and said he will sign such a bill upon approval by Congress.

            The New Jersey example might encourage the other states to follow.  Death sentences and executions are at the lowest levels in 10 years according to Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.  Based from a New Jersey legislative panel report, death penalty is not a sufficient deterrent for worst crimes and costs more from taxpayers’ money.  New Jersey has 9 convicts on death row, none executed since 1963.  38 states with death penalty have executed 98 in 1999 and 53 in 2006.  The lethal injection of Aaron Lee Jones in Alabama on May 4th was the 17th in the US in 2007 and the 1,074th since the restoration of death penalty.

References

Hurdle, J.  2007.  New Jersey to consider Abolishing Death Penalty.  Retrieved May 11, 2007,

from <http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN08479920070508?feedType= RSS&pageNumber=1