Today Governor Jon Corzine signed into law a bill that ends capital punishment in New Jersey. “This is a day of progress for us and for the millions of people across our nation and around the globe who reject the death penalty as a moral or practical response to the grievous, even heinous, crime of murder,” Corzine said. In a powerful and eloquent speech delivered Monday morning, the Governor thanked advocacy groups for their hard and courageous work in creating “a fundamental grass roots groundswell that put pressure on those of us in public service to stand up and do the right thing.”
New Jersey becomes the first state since 1965 to legislatively repeal the death penalty, and the state’s move is being hailed around the world as a historic victory against capital punishment.
The momentum to repeal capital punishment has been growing in the state since January, when a 13-member legislative commission recommended its abolition. “It took 31 years,” noted a recent New York Times editorial, “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.”
We fervently hope the actions of Governor Corzine and New Jersey’s lawmakers will set a high standard for elected officials in other states to follow.
Governor Jon S. CorzineRemarks as DeliveredDecember 17, 2007
Good morning everyone.
Thank you all for being here. Today, December 17th 2007, is a momentous day – a day of progress – for the State of New Jersey and for the millions of people across our nation and around the globe who reject the death penalty as a moral or practical response to the grievous, even heinous, crime of murder.
Today, through my signature on this bill, New Jersey abolishes the death penalty as a policy of our state.
For the people of New Jersey, I sign this legislation with pride.
I want to thank so many of those who join us today for their thoughtfulness and courage in making today a reality.
First let me cite the Death Penalty Study Commission, chaired by Reverend Bill Howard, pastor of Bethany Baptist Church in Newark, a group that was made up of a diverse set of individuals representative of prosecutors, law-enforcement, victims, religious groups and others.