[Vision2020] New Jersey Soon to Join the Civilized World

Nick Gier ngier at uidaho.edu
Mon Dec 17 11:42:46 PST 2007

Hi Kai,

Let me be very clear: I, along with hundreds of 
millions of people around the world, believe that 
the death penalty is immoral and that under no 
circumstances does a government have the right to kill another human person.

Let me just clarify for consistency something 
I've said on this list many times: I do not 
consider the human fetus a legal and moral person 
until 25 weeks, and I argued for this position at 

Nick Gier

At 10:53 AM 12/17/2007, you wrote:
>Nick, 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 disrreputable 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. > > > 
> > List services made available by First Step 
>Internet, > serving the communities of the 
>Palouse since 
>1994. >               http://www.fsr.net > 
>    mailto:Vision2020 at moscow.com > 
> > Kai Eiselein Editor, Latah Eagle 
>List services made available by First Step 
>Internet, serving the communities of the Palouse 
>1994.                  http://www.fsr.net 
>                          mailto:Vision2020 at moscow.com 

"Truth is the summit of being; justice is the 
application of it to human affairs."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Abstract truth has no value unless it incarnates 
in human beings who represent it, by proving their readiness to die for it."
  --Mohandas Gandhi

"Modern physics has taught us that the nature of 
any system cannot be discovered by dividing it 
into its component parts and studying each part 
by itself. . . .We must keep our attention fixed 
on the whole and on the interconnection between 
the parts. The same is true of our intellectual 
life. It is impossible to make a clear cut 
between science, religion, and art. The whole is 
never equal simply to the sum of its various parts." --Max Planck

Nicholas F. Gier
Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, University of Idaho
1037 Colt Rd., Moscow, ID 83843
208-882-9212/FAX 885-8950
President, Idaho Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO

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