Guest Opinion: Inevitability of death penalty repeal

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By The Staff

What do police officers, crime victim advocates, prosecutors and both Democratic and Republican state legislators have in common?Recently all of these groups came together in New Jersey to support legislation to repeal that state’s death penalty. Once the bill is signed by Gov. Jon Corzine, New Jersey will become the first state to legislatively repeal the death penalty since Iowa and West Virginia did so back in 1965.The death penalty discussion is very familiar to New Mexicans. Many readers know that our House of Representatives passed a repeal bill in 2005 and again earlier this year, also with strong bi-partisan support. We are proud that New Mexico has been at the forefront of repeal efforts and we congratulate New Jersey legislators and Governor Corzine for making this sound public policy decision.In New Jersey, a special commission was appointed to thoroughly study the pros and cons of the death penalty – and to recommend measures that could fix the state’s death penalty statutes. The study found that there was no “fix” for the death penalty. In the words of one state senator, who voted to reinstate the death penalty in New Jersey in 1982, it is a “false and ineffective choice for taxpayers and residents who have lost loved ones.

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