Tuesday, December 07, 2004

 

New acting NJ governor supports death penalty moratorium

Codey is actually making a good stab at being a decent governor.
Codey supports death penalty moratorium during new study
Senate measure likely to impose two-year hold on executions as death row inmate loses another appeal


BY ROBERT SCHWANEBERG

As one death row inmate moved closer to lethal injection yesterday, acting Gov. Richard Codey endorsed a moratorium on executions until a proposed study commission determines whether the state's death penalty system is just, fair and worth its cost. Codey, who is also Senate president, called for the moratorium yesterday as he stalled a Senate vote on a bill that would have created a 13-member death penalty study commission.

Such an action could stop any executions from being carried out for up to two years after the bill is signed.

"The governor does not think it makes sense to do a study without a moratorium," said Kelley Heck, a spokeswoman for Codey. "So he does support a moratorium right now, and he supports it for 18 months to two years."

New Jersey has not executed anyone in 41 years, and capital punishment is already on hold as the Department of Corrections devises new lethal injection rules. The death row inmate who has exhausted the most capital punishment appeals -- convicted murderer John Martini -- lost another round in court yesterday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his case.

The bill would create a commission to determine whether the death penalty is consistent with "evolving standards of decency," whether it is discriminatory and whether it is worth its cost, both in money for lawyers and the risk of executing an innocent defendant.

Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), the sponsor, said Codey took her aside yesterday and told her he wanted to add a ban on executions while the panel studies the death penalty system, and she readily agreed. As Senate president, Codey decides which bills come up for a vote. "If we're going to study the death penalty, I think we should not allow anyone to be executed until the report is in," Turner said.

Last year, a bill to create a study commission without blocking any executions passed the Legislature but was vetoed by then-Gov. James E. McGreevey, who said capital punishment had been "continuously studied in painstaking detail."
Not that it needs to be studied - every index shows that the death penalty does not do what its proponents claim (except keep the killer from killing again, and life in prison without parole would do that equally well), while mounting evidence shows we are incapable of implementing capital punishment fairly. The best thing would be simply to eliminate it entirely. Failing that, a moratorium - which New Jersey has effectively had anyway, considering the state hasn't executed anyone since the US Supreme Court restored capital punishment - will at least keep the state from killing anyone needlessly.

Codey is doing a good job so far of being more than just an acting governor. He's been around a long time and probably figured out a lot of things he wanted to do if he ever got a chance. Now he has a chance. This is a very good thing to do.
Comments:
Everything in that is complete bullcrap these people are vicious murderers and they have been on death row too long and they should get their day of judgement way before what that liberal fool richard codey says
 
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Comments: "
Everything in that is complete bullcrap these people are vicious murderers and they have been on death row too long and they should get their day of judgement way before what that liberal fool richard codey says
 
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