Following our successful campaign to abolish the death penalty in New Jersey, NJADP seeks to achieve public and political support for the elimination of capital punishment in the United States and promotes public policies and programs designed to ensure justice and healing in the criminal justice system and in our communities. In all endeavors, NJADP works with a wide variety of individuals and organizations that share our commitment to creating a more just society.

"There were many reasons to ban the death penalty in New Jersey. It is difficult, if not impossible, to devise a humane technique of execution that is not cruel and unusual, and to develop a foolproof system that precludes the possibility of executing the innocent. New Jersey spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars to maintain its capital punishment system since 1982, even though it had not carried out a single execution for more than four decades, demonstrating little collective will or appetite to enforce this law.

"But for me, the question was more fundamental. State-endorsed violence begets violence and undermines our commitment to the sanctity of life. We in New Jersey are proud to be the first state to prohibit the death penalty since it was permitted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976, and we are proud to serve as leaders on this profound issue of conscience."

Governor Jon Corzine
Seton Hall Law School Symposium: Legislation, Litigation, Reflection & Repeal: the Legislative Repeal of the Death Penalty in New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey
April 2008

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The State of New Jersey abolished executions in December, 2007.

Read the story of how this came to be.

See the video story.

Important News and Commentary

Star Ledger: Jersey's proud moment

2007-12-19 - JERSEY'S PROUD MOMENT (Published Monday, December 17, 2007) New Jersey once was justifiably proud of its reputation as a forward-looking state, for its efforts to provide a quality education for all children, no matter where they lived, for encouraging construction of affordable housing throughout the state, for its excellent judiciary. Lately, though, New Jersey more often than not has signified corruption and crime. Last week, New Jersey regained its place among progressive states when it abolished the death penalty. It took both Democrats and Republicans in the state Senate and the Assembly to make the decision, which was heart-wrenching for many. But it was the right one. Gov. Jon Corzine signs the bill today. Men who had voted in 1982 to reintroduce the death penalty -- such as Senate President Richard Codey -- and officials -- such as Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio -- who prosecute murderers said the time had come to recognize that the death penalty was not good public policy. Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts put it best: "It is simply not for us to decide who should live and who should die." In an era of polarizing, partisan politics, the men and women of New Jersey's Legislature rose above the mire to do the right thing. © 2007 The Star Ledger

See video, images, other links to Bill Signing

2007-12-18 - On this Blog you can see some short video clips and some other links to the bill signing and other moments in the whirlwind of the past few weeks, when YEARS of protracted debate and public education and mobilization finally came to a head....

Death Row Disappears As Corzine Signs Bill

2007-12-17 - "Today New Jersey is truly evolving," Corzine told about 200 people packed into his outer office in the Statehouse for the bill-signing ceremony. "Society must determine if its endorsement of violence begets violence and undermines the sanctity of life. ... I answer yes, and therefore I believe we must evolve to ending that endorsement."

NY Times: Corzine Signs Bill Ending Executions...

2007-12-17 - In a contemplative and at times emotional speech, Mr. Corzine spoke of morality and practicality, saying that �state-endorsed killing� was amoral public policy. Mr. Corzine, who said he has believed for most of his adult life that capital punishment is wrong, seemed to be making more than just a perfunctory political statement at a bill-signing ceremony.

A Long Time Coming

2007-12-15 - NY Times Editorial: "It took 31 years, 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 human beings."

Assembly OKs measure to end N.J. executions

2007-12-14 - "The lawmakers voted 44-36 to replace the state's never-used death penalty with life in prison without parole. The Senate passed the bill Monday. Gov. Jon Corzine said yesterday he expects to sign it in a matter of days, making New Jersey the first state to repeal its capital punishment law in more than 30 years."

N.J. lawmakers vote to ban death penalty

2007-12-13 - TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The New Jersey Assembly approved legislation Thursday to abolish the state's death penalty, making Gov. Jon S. Corzine's signature the only step left before the state becomes the first in four decades to ban executions.

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