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MrsSpringsteen 12-17-2007 12:05 PM

NJ Abolishes The Death Penalty
The Associated Press
updated 11:13 a.m. ET, Mon., Dec. 17, 2007

TRENTON, N.J. - Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed into law Monday a measure that abolishes the death penalty, making New Jersey the first state in more than four decades to reject capital punishment.

The bill, approved last week by the state's Assembly and Senate, replaces the death sentence with life in prison without parole.

"This is a day of progress for us and for the millions of people across our nation and around the globe who reject the death penalty as a moral or practical response to the grievous, even heinous, crime of murder," Corzine said.

The measure spares eight men on the state's death row. On Sunday, Corzine signed orders commuting the sentences of those eight to life in prison without parole.

Among the eight spared is Jesse Timmendequas, a sex offender who murdered 7-year-old Megan Kanka in 1994. The case inspired Megan's Law, which requires law enforcement agencies to notify the public about convicted sex offenders living in their communities.

New Jersey reinstated the death penalty in 1982 — six years after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to resume executions — but it hasn't executed anyone since 1963.

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."

The bill passed the Legislature largely along party lines, with controlling Democrats supporting the abolition and minority Republicans opposed. Republicans had sought to retain the death penalty for those who murder law enforcement officials, rape and murder children, and terrorists, but Democrats rejected that.

"It's simply a specious argument to say that, somehow, after six millennia of recorded history, the punishment no longer fits the crime," said Assemblyman Joseph Malone, a Republican.

Members of victims' families fought against the law.

"I will never forget how I've been abused by a state and a governor that was supposed to protect the innocent and enforce the laws," said Marilyn Flax, whose husband Irving was abducted and murdered in 1989 by death row inmate John Martini Sr.

Iowa, West Virginia last states to abolish death penalty
The last states to eliminate the death penalty were Iowa and West Virginia in 1965, according to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

The nation has executed 1,099 people since the U.S. Supreme Court reauthorized the death penalty in 1976. In 1999, 98 people were executed, the most since 1976; last year 53 people were executed, the lowest since 1996.

Other states have considered abolishing the death penalty recently, but none has advanced as far as New Jersey.

The nation's last execution was Sept. 25 in Texas. Since then, executions have been delayed pending a U.S. Supreme Court decision on whether execution through lethal injection violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

anitram 12-17-2007 01:18 PM

Good for New Jersey. :up:

LemonMelon 12-17-2007 01:18 PM

Kewl. :yes:

randhail 12-17-2007 01:27 PM

Good work New Jersey.

Vincent Vega 12-17-2007 01:32 PM


unico 12-17-2007 01:44 PM

See that Virginia? See??? Come on, you know you want to! All the cool states are doing it!

Angela Harlem 12-17-2007 02:56 PM


MrsSpringsteen 12-17-2007 03:10 PM

RENTON, New Jersey (CNN) -- The man who raped and killed 7-year-old Megan Kanka -- the 1994 crime that inspired "Megan's Law" -- is one of eight men whose sentences were commuted to life in prison this week as part of New Jersey's new ban on execution.

The Garden State on Monday became the first state in more than three decades to abolish the death penalty after a commission ruled the punishment is "inconsistent with evolving standards of decency."

Gov. Jon Corzine the day before commuted the sentences of eight men sitting on the state's death row. They will now serve life in prison without parole, according to the governor's office.

Among the eight is Jesse Timmendequas, 46, who was sentenced to death in June 1997 for Megan's murder.

Prosecutors said Timmendequas lured Megan to his home by saying he wanted to show her a puppy. He then raped her, beat her and strangled her with a belt. A day later, he led police to her body.

"Megan's Law," introduced after her death, requires that authorities notify neighbors when a sex offender moves into an area. Timmendequas had twice been convicted of sex crimes -- on 5- and 7-year-olds -- before he murdered Megan.

phillyfan26 12-17-2007 03:20 PM

One of the few times Jersey has beaten PA on something. Kudos, Jersey.

BVS 12-17-2007 04:48 PM

:up: NJ

Moonlit_Angel 12-17-2007 05:07 PM


The man who raped and killed 7-year-old Megan Kanka -- the 1994 crime that inspired "Megan's Law" -- is one of eight men whose sentences were commuted to life in prison this week as part of New Jersey's new ban on execution.
As it should be. Life imprisonment is a much better punishment for a crime like this.

Good move, New Jersey :up:.


financeguy 12-17-2007 06:15 PM


Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel
Life imprisonment is a much better punishment for a crime like this.
From whose point of view?

Moonlit_Angel 12-17-2007 06:56 PM


Originally posted by financeguy
From whose point of view?
Well, in my opinion, it is. And I'm sure there's some out there who would agree. Death lets these people off too easy, they don't get a chance to have their crimes come back to haunt them. Not to mention, correct me if I'm wrong, but I've heard it told that criminals who hurt/kill children automatically make themselves quite a few enemies in jail...I think they'd almost wish for death over having to deal with other criminals.

But yeah, I should've clarified that that was my personal opinion-I do personally think murder, rape, molestation, stuff like that, should be worthy of life imprisonment.


the iron horse 12-17-2007 06:58 PM

It's alway amazing how some get so concerned over the fate of killers and so unconcerned about their victims.

Jesse Timmendequas and the other convicted killers in N.J. will enjoy three meals a day and life.

Their victims are dead.

No thumbs up from me,
only saddness

Moonlit_Angel 12-17-2007 07:00 PM

Given that not everyone who's been put to death over the years was actually guilty, I think that alone should be enough reason to question the use of the death penalty.


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