Tuesday, May 08, 2007

N.J. Considers End To Death Penalty

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (Reuters) -- New Jersey lawmakers will consider abolishing the death penalty this week, starting a process that could see the liberal state become the first to scrap capital punishment since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated it in 1976.
On Thursday, the judiciary committee of the state Senate will consider two bills calling for New Jersey to replace execution with life imprisonment without parole. Capital punishment in the state is already suspended under a moratorium passed by legislators in late 2005.
Sen. Ray Lesniak, a Democrat and sponsor of one of the bills, said he was confident that a combined bill would be passed by the panel and, while its fate in the full Senate was less certain, it was likely that the legislation would become law some time this summer.
Lesniak, a former supporter of the death penalty, said he had changed his mind largely because of the risk of executing an innocent person.
"We have seen so many cases of innocent people being sent to death row, it's just not worth taking the chance," he said.
But Sen. Nicholas Asselta, a Republican who supports the death penalty, argued that DNA testing eliminated the possibility of people being executed in error, and that capital punishment was a valid deterrent for the worst crimes.
"How can you not impose the death penalty on people like Osama bin Laden?" Asselta said.
Asselta predicted the full Senate would vote to abolish the death penalty because it was controlled by Democrats who wouldbe supported by some Republicans.
Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, is opposed to the death penalty, and has said he will sign any such bill after it is approved by the legislature, both of whose houses are controlled by Democrats.
Any decision by New Jersey to scrap its death penalty would likely encourage other U.S. states to take a harder look at the issue at a time when both death sentences and executions are at their lowest levels in a decade, said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a group that campaigns for its abolition.
The hearing follows a report from a New Jersey legislative panel in January this year that recommended abolishing the death penalty, partly on grounds that it does not deter the worst crimes and is a greater burden on taxpayers than life without parole.
The New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission also cited increasing evidence that the death penalty was "inconsistent with evolving standards of decency."
New Jersey currently has nine people on death row but has not executed anyone since 1963. Nationwide, 53 people were executed in 2006 in the 38 states that have the death penalty, down from 98 in 1999, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
On May 4, the state of Alabama executed death row inmate Aaron Lee Jones by lethal injection.
His was the 17th execution in the United States this year and the 1,074th since capital punishment was restored in the United States, according to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

I know I'm in the minority in the U.S., but personally I think its about time. It's been obvious for a long time that the death penalty doesn't deter crime and is therefore being used for purely vengeful reasons. It seems to me that if we tell citizens as individuals that it is wrong to seek vengeance in the form of killing then the state should also have to live up to that standard. Especially since so many innocent people, in the last few years, have been found wrongly convicted and waiting on death row. My question for death penalty advocates is this, is one innocent life taken by the state acceptable to them? Because the percentages say that the U.S. has already executed innocent people and if we continue this practice we will surely execute more innocents. The Republican, in this article, arguments for capital punishment are completely innane and illogical, considering one we will not be able to use DNA in every case, because there is not always DNA evidence, and two if Osma Bin Laden were captured he would be tried either by the military or by the federal courts, not by freaking New Jersey.


Blogger Ivan G. Goldman said...

Keep punishing the bastards. I see by your profile that you're the only person I know who's older than I am.


5/10/2007 3:30 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

Hey Ivan, Somehow it doesn't suprise me to get your type of response to this post. God knows people are vengeful. I'm the oldest person you know? You don't have parents, grandparents etc.?-lmao

5/12/2007 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

Did ya see Ivan's profile, surely he must be joking....his pic is an older man??? Maybe is folks are fossils now and don't count?

Nice to see ya up and blogging again!

5/13/2007 8:42 AM  

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