2006-10-25 - ...My name is Celeste Fitzgerald and I am the director and a founding member of New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Our 10,000 members and more than 200 supporting organizations represent the views of hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans. Over the last seven years I have watched public opinion on the death penalty almost completely reverse itself. One after another I have watched death penalty supporters change their minds or join us to say it’s simply not worth it. ...
2006-10-17 - Trenton -- New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (“NJADP”), a statewide grassroots organization with over 10,000 members, today told the New Jersey Supreme that there is “gross disparity” in how New Jersey’s counties treat capital cases, and that the State’s death penalty system is unacceptably “arbitrary and irrational” due to county variability. It further argued that the current system disproportionately subjects to the death penalty those offenders in smaller, non-urban counties who have killed white victims.
2006-09-19 - Asbury Radio spoke with Juan, Vicki and Abe on September 19, 2006 during NJADP's recent "Journey's through Violence and Injustice" tour throughout New Jersey. Listen to this 50 minute interview by clicking on the link above, and then scroll down to "Don't Kill In My Name" and the photo of the three guests. Enjoy!
2006-09-16 - Assemblyman Albano came to NJADP's public forum in Vineland recently to declare that he had changed his mind about the death penalty, and explained why. Read about it here!
2006-07-19 - Trenton: On the same day the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission met to hear testimony about the risk of executing an innocent person, New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NJADP) released a new Report chronicling the true stories of twenty-five New Jerseyans who were convicted of crimes they did not commit. Joining NJADP were renowned attorney and DNA expert Barry Scheck of “The Innocence Project,” Kate Germond of Centurion Ministries in Princeton, and Larry Peterson, who was recently exonerated after spending nearly eighteen years in prison in New Jersey for a murder he did not commit and whose case vividly illustrates the risk of wrongful conviction in a capital murder case. The executive summary can be found at the link above. The full report will be posted to this site July 20.
The Report, entitled Innocence Lost in New Jersey, demonstrates conclusively that mistakes can and do happen in New Jersey and underscores why New Jersey must replace its outdated and fatally flawed death penalty system with the alternative punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“Those who think that innocent people do not get convicted, and could never be sentenced to die, should look no further than the shattered lives outlined in this report,” said Celeste Fitzgerald, Executive Director of New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NJADP). “Mistakes that send people to prison, or even death, do not just happen somewhere else; they happen right here in New Jersey.”
“Our State is not immune from the types of errors that result in an innocent person being sentenced to die, and it is long past time that we eliminate this unacceptable and unnecessary risk by replacing the death penalty with the stronger, fairer and more certain punishment of life in prison without parole,” said Fitzgerald.
In the Peterson case, prosecutors sought to sentence Peterson to death. His jury opted for life in prison. Recent DNA testing found that the physical evidence of the rape matched skin under the fingernails of the victim, all pointing to an unknown male. None of the evidence at the scene actually matched Peterson. Further, a key witness for the State has recently recanted his claim that Peterson confessed to the crime in a car ride to work, saying that he told the police what they wanted to hear. That same witness, whose knowledge of key facts of the case bolstered his credibility at Peterson’s original trial, now also admits that he learned those facts from overhearing investigators’ conversations. Had the jury agreed with the initial prosecutor, Peterson might have already been executed by the state of New Jersey for a crime that the evidence demonstrates he did not commit.
“When you talk about innocence, you are talking about me,” said Peterson.
Sandra Manning, Esq, co-author of the report, cautioned that mistakes are inevitable in the criminal justice system. “The State of New Jersey was certain - certain – that these men and women were guilty - and the State was wrong,” Manning said.
Nationally 123 people have been exonerated from death row in the past several decades, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Innocence Lost in New Jersey is a comprehensive examination of wrongful convictions in New Jersey. It includes the real-life story of twenty-four individuals who have been exonerated after conviction, as well as 12 cases of possible or probable innocence and those who were exonerated before trial, but only after public humiliation or confinement.
The report was commissioned by NJADP, a statewide grassroots organization with over 10,000 members that since 1999 has campaigned for an end to the death penalty in New Jersey. It is the core group of more than 200 New Jersey organizations, representing interests such as labor, justice, education, municipalities, business, human rights, and virtually every religious denomination in the state.
2006-03-23 - Photos of Sr. Helen's visit to New Jersey
2006-01-16 - The European Union is profoundly encouraged by the decision of the New Jersey Legislature to put in place a moratorium on executions in the State of New Jersey.
2006-01-15 - NPR interviews NJADP Director Celeste Fitzgerald.
2006-01-15 - Amnesty International USA Applauds Passage of Moratorium/Study Bill in New Jersey
2006-01-15 - Statement of The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark and President of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, on the passage of the Death Penalty Moratorium Act.
2006-01-12 - New Jersey Governor Richard Codey today signed S-709/A-2347, historic legislation calling for an immediate suspension of all executions in New Jersey and creating a study commission to examine all aspects of the State’s death penalty system. The bipartisan bill is the first legislative moratorium in the United States.
2006-01-09 - By a 55 – 21 vote, the New Jersey General Assembly today approved S-709/A-2347, legislation calling for an immediate moratorium on all executions in New Jersey and creating a study commission that will examine the flaws in the State’s current death penalty system.