New Jersey death penalty repeal legislation passes key committee vote: Ronald Smothers has this article in the New York Times, entitled "Panel Seeks End of New Jersey's Death Penalty," on yesterday's 8-2 passage of repeal legislation by the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee. Michael Rispoli has this coverage in the Cherry Hill Courier Post, entitled "Committee moves to ban death penalty." Elisa Ung has this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, entitled "N.J. lawmakers act against death penalty." Robert Schwaneberg has this story for the Newark Star-Ledger, entitled "Panel acts to outlaw executions in Jersey." AP has this coverage, entitled "New Jersey Death Penalty Ban Pushed." Doug Eshleman has this article in the Daily Princetonian, entitlled "N.J. may end death penalty."
A State Senate committee passed a bill on Thursday that would make New Jersey the first state to abolish the death penalty since states began reinstating their capital punishment laws more than three decades ago.
Under the measure, which was approved in an 8-to-2 vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the death penalty would be replaced with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for the most serious of crimes.
Should the measure become law, New Jersey would be one of 13 states without capital punishment. The other 12 never passed a new death penalty law, or at least a valid or constitutional one, after the United States Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
The committee’s chairman, Senator John H. Adler, a Democrat from Cherry Hill, predicted that the full Senate would approve the measure.
The bill’s sponsor, Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, a Democrat from Union County, was less confident.
“It’s a 50-50 proposition,” Senator Lesniak said in calculating the bill’s chances on the Senate floor, where Democrats — who generally favor repeal — hold a 22-to-18 majority. “If it does pass and become law, we will hopefully influence other states.” ...
Update: Karl Keys has more news coverage of yesterday's repeal vote on the NCADP Abolish blog here (including a link to this press release by State Senator Shirley K. Turner, who authored the bill passed yesterday). The Tennessee Dude has NJADP's press release on the Amnesty Int'l Death Penalty blog here.