ACLU Says New Jersey's Historic Rejection of Death Penalty Reflects Shift in Public Opinion

December 17, 2007 12:00 am

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December 17, 2007

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NEW YORK – Today Governor Jon Corzine signed into law a bill that ends capital punishment in the state of New Jersey. The measure, which passed the state legislature last week with bipartisan majorities, replaces the death penalty with life imprisonment for the most serious offenders. New Jersey becomes the first state since 1965 to legislatively repeal the death penalty, generating forward momentum in the campaign to end capital punishment nationwide, said the American Civil Liberties Union.

The following can be attributed to John Holdridge, Director of the ACLU’s Capital Punishment Project:

“This is a historic moment reflecting the growing shift in public opinion against the death penalty in America. It has been over four decades since the last state abolished capital punishment through the legislative process and New Jersey’s governor and legislature are to be commended for setting a high standard for other states to follow.

“Today’s signing sends a powerful message to the rest of the nation and the world that the death penalty is not only a grossly improper use of government power, but also the ultimate denial of civil liberties. New Jersey’s public leaders are right – capital punishment is ineffective, discriminatory, arbitrary and costly. With the stroke of a pen, America’s stature worldwide and its ability to end human rights violations in other countries have greatly improved.”

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