Make the Death Penalty History

New Jersey legislators will soon consider whether to abolish the death penalty in New Jersey. The New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission, consisting of law enforcement professionals and community leaders, recently released findings that support the abolition of the death penalty in New Jersey. We want our legislators to take these compelling findings into consideration and we need your help to ensure that they do.

Formed in January 2006 to conduct a comprehensive study of all aspects of the death penalty in our state, the commission heard substantial evidence heard both in favor of and against the death penalty, yielding several significant findings:

  • The death penalty serves no valid purpose in our penal system that would not be satisfied by a sentence of life without parole;
  • The cost of death penalty cases greatly exceeds the cost of a life sentence;
  • Race is a factor in the application of the death penalty;
  • The execution of an innocent person is inevitable;
  • The death penalty does not deter murder.

The commission's complete report with in-depth explanations of these and other findings and the evidence presented at the hearings can be found at: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/committees/njdeath_penalty.asp

By taking a few simple, yet powerful steps, you can help put an end to the immoral and unjust practice of sentencing people to death in New Jersey.

What You Can Do

First

Contact your state legislators and tell them:

I oppose the death penalty. The New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission has recommended replacing the death penalty with life without parole. I strongly urge you to sponsor and support S171/A795, bills that would accomplish this worthy and just goal.

Contact information for your legislators can be found at: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/municipalities.asp

Second

Contact Senate President Richard Codey, thank him for his continued leadership on the issue of the death penalty and tell him:

The New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission has recommended replacing the death penalty with life without parole. I strongly urge you to sponsor and support S171, legislation that would accomplish this worthy and just goal.

Senator Codey can be reached at:

Hon. Richard Codey
449 Mount Pleasant Avenue
West Orange, NJ 07052
973 731 6770
SenCodey@njleg.org

Talking Points

The New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission recommended replacing the death penalty with life without parole.
The commission, which included several members of law enforcement and murder victims' family members, asked all the questions, reviewed all of the evidence and issued an overwhelming verdict: the time has come to finally end the death penalty. The commission also recommended that any cost savings resulting from the abolition of the death penalty be used for benefits and services for homicide survivors. It is time to answer this call.

We have learned a lot in the 24 years since New Jersey reinstated the death penalty. Experience shows that it distracts from justice and has to go.
(This point is very important.)

Life without parole keeps us safe.
Please replace New Jersey's death penalty with life without parole, a strong and swift sentence.

I am morally opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances.
Expand with your own personal reasons.

Risk of executing an innocent person.
Many innocent people have been sent to our nation's death rows before new evidence freed them. Four innocent men may have been executed. In New Jersey, people serving life sentences were found to be completely innocent. We must not risk executing an innocent person.

The death penalty is unfair and arbitrary.
The death penalty is unfairly and arbitrarily applied. The county in which the crime occurs is a significant factor in determining whether a defendant faces death. It is also clear that this "county variability" causes racial disparity; that is, that killers of white victims are more likely to face capital prosecution than killers of black victims.

There are much better ways to spend money.
Please end the death penalty in New Jersey. It is a distraction from justice and the huge amount of money spent on it would be better spent supporting victims' families and law enforcement.

The death penalty is not a deterrent and we don't need it.
I oppose the death penalty. I know it's not a deterrent and there are better ways to keep us safe. States without the death penalty have lower murder rates than states with it.

New Jerseyans don't want the death penalty and my family and neighbors don't either.
I saw a Rutgers poll saying that more New Jerseyans prefer life without parole for murder over the death penalty, by a wide margin. I know many people who feel this way.

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