NJ Senator Delivers Prize-Winning Speech Against Death Penalty

In a speech delivered before the Memorial de Caen International Human Rights Competition in Caen, France, yesterday, New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak said:

The death penalty is a random act of brutality. Its application throughout the United States is random, depending on where the murder occurred, the race and economic status of who committed the murder, the race and economic status of the person murdered and, of course, the quality of the legal defense.

…The worse damage [the death penalty] does is to a society that believes it needs to seek revenge over redemption.

The need for revenge leads to hate and violence. Redemption opens the door to healing and peace. Revenge slams it shut.

A society that turns its back on redemption commits itself to holding on to anger and a need for vengeance in a quest for fulfillment that can not be met by those destructive emotions. Redemption instead opens the door to the space that asks healing questions in the wake of violence: questions of crime prevention, questions of why some human beings put such a low value on life that they readily take it from others, questions that help us understand how to help those impacted by violence; questions that take a back seat, and are often ignored, when our minds and emotions are filled with a need for revenge.

Lesniak was behind New Jersey's repeal of the death penalty in 2007, and author of The Road to Abolition: How New Jersey Abolished the Death Penalty.

His speech also addressed the case of Troy Davis; the ineffectiveness of capital punishment as a deterrent; his state's close encounter with executing an innocent man, Byron Halsey; and how the death penalty "exacerbates the pain and suffering of families of murder victims."

It's an incredibly moving speech—congratulations to Senator Lesniak for his prize, which he'll donate to his own anti-death penalty nonprofit, the Road to Justice and Peace.

h/t: Standdown

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liberal hater

I smell bullshit.

Of course that odor is caused by insane left-wing, anti-American liberal policies.

Maybe more niggers get the death penalty because more niggers commit murders. Duh!


More Afro Americans get the death penalty because lots of people agree with Liberal Hater but don't have the guts to admit it.


I guess "liberal hater"'s statement speaks volumes about the hatred and intolerance we are fighting. wow!

Harold Watson

The speach on the death penalty by Senator Raymond Lasniak reeks with his ignorance of the subject. Senator Lasniak is incapable of understanding the use of the death penalty because his talk reveals that he does not understand justice either. You will notice that he does not mention the word once. To execute criminals is both the right and duty of a lawfully constituted government. Some mistakenly think that to not apply the death penalty to murderers demonstrates that a society is advanced and sophisticated. Actually it is evidence against it, that it is morally decadent and backward. I could say much more, but will put down my pen. Thank you for the opportunity to express my opinion. HW


Thank goodness for the ACLU. It even enables the self-proclaimed haters of the world, like "liberal hater," to have Freedom of Speech!" This is a group I can go for, even if I sometimes disagree with them. (I wouldn't enable "liberal hater" at all! If it were up to me, I would stifle his Freedom of Speech. Groups like the ACLU are there for him. )


These aren't small time crinimals guys. To make death row you are a murderer.You are a danger to society, and to keep you alive is cruel to those who would become a victim or a loved one of a victim who have not done anything wrong.

student view

Yes but how can you justify the death penalty? If you kill the murderer how can you expect to tell everyone that murder and killing is wrong? Thats a total double standard! Executing the murderer is NOT going to bring his/her victim(s) back! The capital punishment is barbaric and violates the No Cruel and unusual punishment ammendment in the U.S Bill of Rights. We, as citizens, need to give up the "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" way of life.

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