Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Jersey delivers guillotine to lethal injections

Yesterday, New Jersey became the first US state to formally abolish capital punishment since the Supreme Court reauthorized it 31 years ago. It joins twelve states and the District of Columbia that have all this time refused to have the ultimate sanction. Signing the bill was the very controversial Governor of the state, zillionaire Jon Corzine, but that's not the point ... the point is that the legislature voted to abolish the procedure after it was found that the system was beyond defective and that those who were put on death row were probably never going to be executed anyway. A commission earlier this year almost unanimously recommended the step Trenton has now taken.

The eight who were awaiting the needle have had their sentences commuted to life without parole. That's as it should be. Murder one should carry LWOP. No more, no less. This surely won't satisfy a large segment of the Jersey population who support the death penalty's continuance, but surely one has to concede the money spent on endless appeals in DP cases could be better spent both on law enforcement and crime prevention.

And keep in mind, this is Soprano country, which at least has some semblance of habeas corpus and people tend to have a more open mind about these things. Completely the opposite from Texas where its citizens take pride in being a legal lynch mob and where -- barring the intervention of the Supremes -- getting rid of the death penalty is less likely than a hair growing in the middle of the palm of one's hand. And Dubya has stacked the courts to make sure that abolition won't happen for at least another fifty years.

Uh, then again, that palm of the hand bit is what someone said about Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair ever facing off. But it did happen.

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