News 12.17.07

New Jersey bans death penalty

New Jersey governor Jon Corzine today signed a bill into law that abolishes the state’s death penalty and commutes the sentences of eight men on death row to life without parole. The bill was passed last week by New Jersey’s Assembly and Senate, and came after a special commission reported early this year that the state risked executing an innocent person if the practice of capital punishment continued. The commission also found no evidence that the death penalty has a deterrent effect, and the commission concluded that the death penalty costs more to administer than life without parole.

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.''


Read the full story

. (New York Times, 12/17/07)


Download the New Jersey commission’s full report here

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