New Jersey’s Tourism Bureau claims, “Great Destinations in Any Direction”.
An updated slogan might be, “Casinos, the Sopranos and a Death-free Crime Career–What’s Not to Like!”
New Jersey teeters on the brink of history–or something.
New Jersey Sen. Robert Martin is mindful of history.
“One hundred years from now I hope we will be remembered for having had the courage to be leaders in advancing this cause for a more civilized society,” said Martin, R-Morris.
The cause: Abolishing the death penalty.
Time was, only presidents wondered about their legacies.
Now it seems, New Jersey lawmakers from Morris, NJ are eying a place in the history books.
The New Jersey is poised to give final legislative approval on Thursday to abolishing the death penalty, becoming the first state to do so since 1965 when Iowa and West Virginia abolished it.
The state Senate approved the bill Monday; The Assembly will vote Thursday and is expected to pass it. Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine has said he’ll sign the bill.
AGAINST DEATH PENALTY
“I hope New Jersey will give encouragement to other legislators and public officials to have the courage to face this issue squarely,” said Joshua Rubenstein, Amnesty International USA’s northeast director.
Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, said New Jersey reflects a growing national trend against the death penalty, with executions in decline and more states weighing abolition.
“We have learned a lot about the death penalty in the past 30 years,” Rust-Tierney said. “When you look closely at the facts, it just doesn’t add up to sound policy.”
FOR DEATH PENALTY
“Some people deserve to die and we have an obligation to execute them,” said New York Law School professor Robert Blecker, a national death penalty supporter who has been lobbying New Jersey lawmakers against abolition.
“On July 24th, Riley Sawyers had no one to plead for her life. The one person who could have, should have protected her was her mother, Kimberly Trenor. Now Kimberly sits in Galveston County Jail, her fate resting in the hands of a future jury.”
“The jury little Riley Sawyers never had.”
–DBKP’s Little Baby Ginn, on the advantages the accused murderers of 2-year-old Riley Sawyers will have in facing the death penalty. Riley was brutally beaten for six hours until she died. Her body was stashed in a storage building for a month, then dumped into Galveston Bay.
DEATH PENALTY FACTS and FIGURES
_1,099 people have been executed in the United States since the U.S. Supreme Court permitted executions to resume in 1976.
_ The most executions _ 98 _ occurred in 1999.
_ 42 people have been executed this year and 53 in 2006.
_ Of those executed, 929 were by lethal injection, 154 electrocution, 11 the gas chamber, three hanging and two firing squad.
_ New Jersey would be the first state to abolish the death penalty since Iowa and West Virginia did so in 1965.
_ 37 states have the death penalty.
_ New Jersey has eight men on death row, but hasn’t executed anyone since 1963.
_ The daily routine on New Jersey’s death row involves 6:30 a.m. awakenings, daily recreation periods, 11 a.m. lunches, 15-minute showers, two phone calls, dinner around 4 p.m., visits from immediate family members between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. lock-ins, although there’s no official lights out. Inmates clean and mop their cells and the unit on Fridays.
_ Ralph J. Hudson of Atlantic City was the last person executed in New Jersey. He was electrocuted in Jan. 22, 1963, for the stabbing death of his wife.
_ Since 1973 more than 120 people have been released from death row in other states with evidence of their innocence.
Death penalty opponents hope the abolition will “inspire others”. Other New Jersey actions provide a different inspiration.
…in a report released by Rutgers University’s Prudential Business Ethics Center that, along with a survey by a top business group, painted a grim picture Wednesday for New Jersey businesses.
The center’s report deemed government corruption a leading threat to the state economy as the New Jersey Business & Industry Association’s survey found half of 1,300 businesses are glum about the state’s business climate.
The Rutgers report surveyed more than 50 business leaders and found most want stronger laws limiting campaign contributions from government contractors.
Is it gauche to remark that New Jersey lawmakers may have had more than one motivation in the death penalty abolition? No known instance was turned up of a NJ pol being executed.
Before DBKP gets taken to task for linking the abolition of the death penalty and a state culture of corruption, we’ll comment: we’re not.
We’re just presenting the latest examples of the “New Jersey state of mind”.
Both are a part of history.
Death Penalty Foes Hope NJ Inspires Others to Follow Suit
Death Penalty Facts and Figures
Report Examines NJ Corruption
Travel New Jersey
Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.