Friday, December 14, 2007

New Jersey Repealing Death Penalty After Unofficially Ending It 44 Years Ago

Today, Governor Jon Corzine and the state legislature will make a big deal about repealing the New Jersey death penalty statute. The media and death penalty foes are making a big deal about it as well. Convicted murderers seem to like the idea of getting rid of the death penalty as well.

One big problem.

The state unofficially ended the death penalty in 1963.

That was the last time someone was executed in the state under a death penalty statute, and while there are a handful of people on death row in New Jersey since the state reenacted a death penalty statute in 1976, no one has been executed. It's a penalty that has not been imposed.

The move is more symbolic than it is substantive.

Of course, all this comes at a time when the state has more pressing issues. Heck, New Jersey legislators couldn't be bothered to increase penalties on those who do not clear their vehicles of snow and ice, which injures or kills New Jersey residents annually. The Road Warrior has written about this issue in the past, and notes that there were other issues facing the Transportation committee such as dealing with monetizing toll roads and transportation funding, but that is a cop out by those legislators for doing their jobs.


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