December 17, 2007
New Jersey officially kills the state's death penalty
As detailed in this AP story, New Jersey's "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." As the article explains, 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."
Notably, among those 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." The AP article also states that the state's action "is being hailed across the world as a historic victory against capital punishment. Rome plans to shine golden light on the Colosseum in support."
This CNN coverage includes quotes from Governor Corzine, which includes this comment: "Society must ask ... is it not morally superior to imprison 100 people for life than it is to execute all 100 when it's probable we execute an innocent?" In answering this question, it is probably appropriate also to wonder whether we are more likely to discover the one wrongfully convicted person when he is on death row with a few others or when he is serving life in prison with hundreds of others. Moreover, as I have stressed in prior posts, I am troubled that in eliminating the death penalty, New Jersey has expanded its use of the penalty of life without the possibility of parole.
Some related posts:
UPDATE: How Appealing here collects other major media coverage of New Jersey's move away from the death penalty.
December 17, 2007 at 02:23 PM | Permalink
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New Jersey Gouverneur Corzine hat heute das Gesetz unterzeichnet, durch das die Todesstrafe in New Jersey abgeschafft wird. Das Gesetz sowie weitere Dokumente hierzu findet man hier. Gouverneur Corzine (Demokraten) sagte: The state is taking a p... [Read More]
Tracked on Dec 17, 2007 5:10:28 PM
I guess I don't know why you are so troubled by the expanded use of LWOP. Perhaps because I have been in a position to take another life while on Active Duty in the Navy, I have a different perspective.
I believe the death penalty should be abolished for two reasons.
First, justice is not an exact science. Accidents will happen. If the defendant has been executed, there is no "do over" button.
Second, the death penalty as it is administered is wholly disengenous. The death penalty is about revenge and retribution. To pretend that it is about deterrence is laughable. Glendale Police Officer Anthony Holly was killed on February 19, 2007, not because Michael Hulsey was afraid of the death penalty, but because he knew he faced LWOP under a career violent offender status that would see him incarcerated for life, which he richly deserves.
Posted by: JJ | Dec 17, 2007 2:40:15 PM
LWOP is the only viable alternative to the death penalty for the jury who has been convinced and/or requires that a given defendant never re-enter society again because he is too dangerous. LWOP doesn't offer the cathartic "closure" offered by the death penalty and demanded by most modern American Christians living in our victim-status oriented society. So, it's a step in the right direction.
Maybe 10-20 years from now, we'll realize that LWOP poses a danger to the prison population and prison guards, because those serving LWOP sentences have nothing to lose (other than some time in Ad-Seg, which is nothing to them). So, in a decade or two, we might abolish LWOP sentences so every inmate serving a "life" sentence, has a glimmer of hope that one day he might again see freedom, thus providing a very real reason to behave while incarcerated.
Trading the death penalty for life WITH parole is not a viable option, nor should it be encouraged at this point. Vindictive Christians want blood, and the thought of the person who killed their family member even having the remote opportunity of one day being paroled is too much. It's not like they are going to ask WWJD and forgive the defendant.
I do a little christian-bashing here because in my courtroom experience, the most angry, vindictive, nasty, vengeful victims/families of victims are the ones with crosses hanging off of their necks. It boggles my mind. They should all say "I forgive you" and either ask that the charges be dismissed (that is what Jesus would do) or at the very least, not demand the maximum sentence and say "I leave sentencing entirely up to the Court." I've yet to see that happen, ever. And the fact that Christians are the most vocal supporters of the death penalty (while also claiming to be "pro-life" in other areas of politics) just flat out pisses me off.
Posted by: bruce | Dec 18, 2007 12:33:15 AM
"Second, the death penalty as it is administered is wholly disengenous. The death penalty is about revenge and retribution"
So what? What's so wrong about retribution? Why is it illegitimate?
"Vindictive Christians want blood"
I would just once like to see someone say this about another religious group... say the jews (there's lots of evidence that the jews have historically been a vindictive people) or muslins (need I even mention the criminal codes in Iran?). But for whatever reason, the bigotry against Christians is considered fine by so many "enlightened" minds in our country.
And what about secular atheists? Do they say "I'll leave it up to the court?" Hell, do any victims say that Bruce? I've never worked on a case where that's happened. Sounds to me like your just a bigot as ugly as the members of the KKK. Congratulations.
Posted by: | Dec 18, 2007 8:57:38 AM
test (having problems posting on this thread)
Posted by: bruce | Dec 18, 2007 7:01:30 PM
Hey, Christians are supposed to follow Jesus, and the very essence of Christianity is FORGIVENESS. Vindictiveness is absolutely antithetical to Christianity. That's why I say that about Christians. A vindictive self-professed Christian seeking vengence is a hypocrite. It has nothing to do with being anti-Christian, it has to do with being anti-hypocrite.
A Christian victim, who is truly christian, and truly following the word of jesus, should ask the judge to dismiss the charges against the defendant and absolutely unconditionally forgive him right there in open court. No matter what the defendant did. Or the christian can say "I leave sentencing up to the court and offer no opinion on it" but the christian MUST forgive the defendant.
Seeking vengence and retribution (which are legitimate goals of the criminal justice system) is simply UN-Christian. WWJD? He would NOT give a victim impact statement foaming at the mouth and demanding the highest punishment possible (including execution... which Jesus knows a little something about first-hand).
Posted by: bruce | Dec 18, 2007 7:04:20 PM
I'm sure no victims say "leave it up to the court" ... you're probably right about that. I've certainly never seen it. But at the very least, that's what a Christian should do. Frankly I think a true christian would ask that the charges be dropped. That is What Jesus Would Do.
I'm not a christian. If I seek vengence I'm not a hypocrite. The essence of my belief system is not in loving my fellow man and forgiveness. Don't hold me up to the standard of YOUR religion which YOU apparently can't even follow.
It amazes me how Christians talk the talk, but can't walk the walk. And when they're called on it, they claim bigotry. I don't hate christians. I hate hypocrites. And you have no right to be a hypocrite. I firmly believe in ideological estoppel. You can't say you are a Christian and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ on Monday and then go to court on tuesday demanding the toughest sentence legally permitted for the person who harmed you. You must forgive him. If only Christians actually acted like Christians...
You're clearly a false Christian and you have not truly accepted Jesus and you'll burn in hell with me. I call top bunk.
Posted by: bruce | Dec 18, 2007 7:05:40 PM
"Frankly I think a true christian would ask that the charges be dropped." and "You're clearly a false Christian and you have not truly accepted Jesus and you'll burn in hell with me"
You're an ass. The central tenet of Christianity is not forgiveness and seeing how you mention that you're not a Christian I'm not surprised of your ignorance. Your venomous post tells me all I need to know about your animus towards all religious folks. Fine, you don't like religious people; but don't tell me you understand Christianity when you obviously don't know sh*t.
I hope your technical difficulties posting to this blog become a permanent ordeal.
Posted by: | Dec 18, 2007 8:48:30 PM
Matthew 6:14-15 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Luke 17:3-4 “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”
Romans 12:19-21 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Among many other verses of the Bible. Have you even read the New Testament?
I'd love for you to reconcile your idea of a vengeful, retribution-seeking, unforgiving Christian with the Bible quotes I've just cited. But you'll probably do what most Christians do when shown a Bible quote and called a hypocrite -- you'll say the quote was taken out of context or doesn't mean what it says.
Posted by: bruce | Dec 19, 2007 12:13:46 AM
I have no problem with religious people, I have a problem with hypocrisy, as I made abundantly clear.
If you think Jesus Christ, the victim of a crime, would rant and rave and demand retribution and the maximum sentence when giving his victim impact statement in court, you need to re-read the New Testament. Jesus's most basic message was love and forgiveness.
I'm not a Christian and I clearly know more about the tenets and principals of your religion than you do. That's quite sad. I suggest you find another religion, because Christianity and you clearly don't mix. And that's fine.
Posted by: bruce | Dec 19, 2007 12:22:11 AM
I'd suggest Islam for you. It's not very big on the universal, unconditional forgiveness that Jesus Christ preached. The fact that you wish permanent technical difficulties on someone you don't even know just because you disagree with him on an internet message board is absolutely hilarious coming from someone who professes to be a Christian (yet clearly knows nothing about the fundamentals of the religion). Go read the Bible and get back to me....
Posted by: bruce | Dec 19, 2007 12:26:48 AM
Welp, I clearly one that one.
Posted by: bruce | Dec 23, 2007 3:18:13 AM