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January 5, 2007

Editorials supporting end of death penalty in NJ

Providing a telling sign of the capital times, a whole lot of newspapers have editorials advocating the abolition of the death penalty in New Jersey in the wake of a state commission's recommendation to do just that.  StandDown Texas has helpfully assembled links and excerpts of many of the editorials here, which come from papers ranging from the New York Times to the East Brunswick Home News Tribune.

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January 5, 2007 at 02:02 PM | Permalink


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I am an opponent of the death penalty and agree with the NYT that "capital punishment is barbaric and a poor deterrent." Therefore I would normally welcome this (and other similar) editorial.

However, as has been alluded to on this Blog, the cost of eliminating the death penalty in NJ would be to require LWOP in all first degree murder convictions. Would that statute really, as the NYT argues, "make New Jersey’s criminal justice system more civilized and fair"??? I think it would do just the opposite (especially considering that the capital punishment statute is rarely (never?) used in NJ). The new statute would only impose a type of mandatory minimum without regard to the facts of the case (on an albeit most serious crime).

I think before those who seek reform in the criminal justice system celebrate a state’s serious consideration of ending the death penalty, they need to consider what the real “victory” would be in NJ. Sure, adopting this proposal would send a great educational, philosophical, and psychological message about our society and capital punishment. But in practice, given NJ’s lack of history for the use of capital punishment, it would not likely result in fewer executions, and would in fact likely result in negative sentencing outcomes.

Abolish the death penalty in NJ, yes. Do it at the expense of mandatory life in prison in all NJ murder cases, no.

Posted by: DEJ | Jan 5, 2007 2:57:21 PM

Timmendequas. Will he get out? Do you wanna bet some kid's life on it?

Posted by: federalist | Jan 8, 2007 9:03:35 PM

It's fantastic that New Jersey's is taking the death penalty seriously.

Posted by: New Jersey | Apr 12, 2008 9:14:39 PM

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