Innocence |Fairness and Equality |Cost |Deterrence |Secondary Trauma of Executions

"The basic question -- does the system accurately and consistently determine which defendants 'deserve' to die? -- cannot be answered in the affirmative... The problem is that the inevitability of factual, legal, and moral error gives us a system that we know must wrongly kill some defendants, a system that fails to deliver the fair, consistent and reliable sentences of death required by the Constitution."

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, February 22, 1994

"Nothing is more important in a justice system system than the actual and perceived fairness in its application. Our system of capital punishment has neither. It is time to end the death penalty in New Jersey."

Joseph Krakora Star Ledger, December 20, 2005

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New Jersey's DEATH Penalty:


Over the last 20 years, less than 1% of New Jersey's 8,000 homicides resulted in a death sentence. But are those individuals who receive a death sentence truly the "worst of the worst" - or simply those with the worst geographic location?(1)

Who Gets DEATH?

Evidence across the nation demonstrates a pattern of racial bias in death sentencing: Though all criminal defendants have the right to an attorney, there is no guarantee in New Jersey or elsewhere that poor defendants will receive a competent one:

The Death Penalty is a Lottery of Geography

Where a crime occurs in New Jersey can play as significant a role as the nature of the crime:

Fairness in the Death Penalty is a Moving Target

Across the country, states and the federal government have examined the unfair application of the death penalty and attempted to make reforms. Each reform makes a significantly complicated system even more complicated and expensive, while creating a whole new wave of problems in application. With a system that decides who lives and who dies, best faith efforst are not good enough. There is simply too much at stake.

1 Number of murders compiled from New Jersey Uniform Crime Reports (7951 murders total between 2002 and 1982, when New Jersey's death penalty was reinstated, compared to 51 death sentences during that time).
2 Homicide information is a five year average from New Jersey's Uniform Crime Reports, 1998-2002.
3 Death Penalty Information Center.
4 Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Final Report of the Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System, March 2003, citing David Baldus.
5 Paternoster, Raymond et al, An Emprical Analysis of Maryland's Death Sentencing System with Respect to the Influence of Race and Legal Jurisdiction, University of Maryland, January 2003.
6 Amnesty International, Death by Discrimination - the continuing role of race in capital cases, April 2003.
7 Death Penalty Information Center.
8 Liebman, James et al, A Broken System, Part II: Why There is so Much Error in Capital Cases, And What Can be Done About It, Columbia University, 2002.
9 Baime, Report to the Supreme Court Systemic Proportionality Review Project at www.judiciary.state.nj.us/baime/baimereport.pdf.
10 New Jersey Office of the Public Defender, June 2005.

Friday, August 12, 2022 at 05:07:00 (1500/2000)