NJ on Verge of Abolishing Death Penalty

Governor says he'll sign bill passed today; first state since '65 to ban it
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2007 6:32 PM CST
New Jersey Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo, D, 29th Legislative District, speaks at the statehouse in Trenton, N.J., Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007. He co-sponsored a measure to abolish the state's death penalty....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – New Jersey's state assembly passed a bill today to abolish the death penalty, and Gov. Jon Corzine says he'll sign it into law within a week, the AP reports. Proponents of the bill, mainly Democrats, say the death penalty costs more than life imprisonment and can claim innocent victims; Republicans say the bill denies justice to families of murder victims.

"We would be better served as a society by having a clear and certain outcome for individuals that carry out heinous crimes," said Corzine, whose state would be the first in 42 years to abolish the death penalty. The bill, one GOP lawmaker countered, represents "a victory for murderers and rapists. It does not benefit families. … It does not benefit justice."