NJ lawmakers debate bill to abolish death penalty

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard emotional testimony Thursday as the debate to abolish New Jersey?s death penalty began. The committee approved a bill 8 to 2 that would replace the death penalty

News 12 Staff

May 10, 2007, 11:08 PM

Updated 6,185 days ago

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NJ lawmakers debate bill to abolish death penalty
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard emotional testimony Thursday as the debate to abolish New Jersey?s death penalty began.
The committee approved a bill 8 to 2 that would replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole as the state?s stiffest punishment. The debate comes after a final commission report recommended elimination of the death penalty. The report said capital punishment is not worthwhile since the state hasn?t executed anyone since the death penalty was reinstated in the early 1980s. The commission also agreed the death penalty is too expensive and flawed to keep.
Some committee members say the state should keep the death penalty for special cases, such as terrorism. Others, like state Senator Raymond Lesniak, feel differently.
?Terrorists welcome the death penalty. They blow themselves up, they want to be martyrs in any way, shape or form and I don?t want to give them the opportunity to be a martyr,? Lesniak said.
If lawmakers decide to eliminate the death penalty, New Jersey would be the first state to do so since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to reinstate capital punishment in 1976.
For an extended interview with Sen. Lesniak, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO extra.
Related Information:NJ Death Penalty Commission Report


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