Thursday, December 06, 2007

Scrapping the machinery of death.

At least here in The Garden State:

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) Dec. 6 - New Jersey is preparing to scrap the death penalty next week, becoming the first U.S. state to legislatively abolish capital punishment since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated it in 1976.

State legislators will vote on Monday and Thursday on bills that would end the death penalty and substitute life without parole for the most serious crimes. Lawmakers say the measure is likely to be approved.

The state Senate bill’s sponsor, Democrat Ray Lesniak, predicted it will pass both houses of the Democrat-controlled legislature and, after a promised signature by Gov. Jon Corzine, will become law before the end of the year.

“I’m very confident it will pass by a slim margin in the Senate, and by a wider majority in the Assembly,” said Lesniak.

Alex DeCroce, leader of the minority Republicans in the state Assembly, said Democrats were rushing the measure through without proper debate. He did not know how individual lawmakers would vote but predicted, “The majority is going to force it though.”

New Jersey, with eight people on death row, has not executed anyone since 1963.

A legislative commission recommended in January that the death penalty be abolished, saying there was no evidence it deterred the most serious crimes. Life without parole cost less, and capital punishment is “inconsistent with evolving standards of decency,” the commission said.

Thirty-seven American states and the federal government have the death penalty but its use has fallen in recent years. The number of death sentences handed down fell by 60 percent from 1999 to 2006 while the number of executions dropped by 40 percent over the same period, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington research group.

Continued here… Another reason why I am PROUD to be from New Jersey.

If YOU are from these parts, I urge you to call your state legislators and urge them to support Assembly Bill # 3716 and Senate Bill # 171. I just called mine.

Results will be posted here next week. Pray for victory

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