[Vision2020] New Jersey Soon to Join the Civilized World

Kai Eiselein, editor editor at lataheagle.com
Mon Dec 17 10:53:25 PST 2007

You've posted many times about DNA exonerating people.
What if DNA, along with other evidence, proves them guilty? Would that be 
enough to allow execution, or is DNA not conclusive enough for that?
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <nickgier at adelphia.net>
To: <vision2020 at moscow.com>
Sent: Saturday, December 15, 2007 12:34 PM
Subject: [Vision2020] New Jersey Soon to Join the Civilized World

> Greetings:
> All that it now needs is the signature of a pro-abolition governor. I will 
> cheer the day when the U.S. can be removed from a list of countries, such 
> as Iran, North Korea, and China, who believe that they have the right, 
> regardless of the reason, to kill human persons.
> Nick Gier
> December 15, 2007
> Editorial, The New York Times
> A Long Time Coming
> It took 31 years, but the moral bankruptcy, social imbalance, legal 
> impracticality and ultimate futility of the death penalty has finally 
> penetrated the consciences of lawmakers in one of the 37 states that 
> arrogates to itself the right to execute human beings.
> This week, the New Jersey Assembly and Senate passed a law abolishing the 
> death penalty, and Gov. Jon Corzine, a staunch opponent of execution, 
> promised to sign the measure very soon. That will make New Jersey the 
> first state to strike the death penalty from its books since the Supreme 
> Court set guidelines for the nation’s system of capital punishment three 
> decades ago.
> Some lawmakers voted out of principled opposition to the death penalty. 
> Others felt that having the law on the books without enforcing it (New 
> Jersey has had a moratorium on executions since 2006) made a mockery of 
> their argument that it has deterrent value. Whatever the motivation of 
> individual legislators, by forsaking a barbaric practice that grievously 
> hurts the global reputation of the United States without advancing public 
> safety, New Jersey has set a worthy example for the federal government, 
> and for other states that have yet to abandon the creaky, error-prone 
> machinery of death.
> New Jersey’s decision to replace the death penalty with a sentence of life 
> without parole seems all the wiser coming in the middle of a month that 
> has already seen the convictions of two people formerly on death row in 
> other states repudiated. In one case, the defendant was found not guilty 
> following a new trial.
> The momentum to repeal capital punishment has been building in New Jersey 
> since January, when a 13-member legislative commission recommended its 
> abolition. The panel, which included two prosecutors, a police chief, 
> members of the clergy and a man whose daughter was murdered in 2000, cited 
> serious concerns about the imperfect nature of the justice system and the 
> chance of making an irreversible mistake. The commission also concluded, 
> quite correctly, that capital punishment is both a poor deterrent and 
> “inconsistent with evolving standards of decency.”
> By clinging to the death penalty, states keep themselves in the company of 
> countries like Iran, North Korea and China — a disreputable pantheon of 
> human mistreatment. Small wonder the gyrations of New Jersey’s Legislature 
> have been watched intently by human rights activists around the world.
> Spurred in large part by the large and growing body of DNA-based 
> exonerations, there is increasing national unease about the death penalty. 
> The Supreme Court is poised to consider whether lethal injections that 
> torture prisoners in the process of killing them amount to 
> unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment, an exercise bound to put 
> fresh focus on some of the ugly details of implementing capital 
> punishment.
> In a sense, the practical impact of New Jersey’s action may be largely 
> symbolic. Although there are eight people on New Jersey’s death row, the 
> moratorium was in place, and the state has not put anyone to death since 
> 1963. Nevertheless, it took political courage for lawmakers to join with 
> Governor Corzine. Their renunciation of the death penalty could prick the 
> conscience of elected officials in other states and inspire them to muster 
> the courage to revisit their own laws on capital punishment.
> At least that is our fervent hope.
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Kai Eiselein
Editor, Latah Eagle 

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