The Daily Record in Parsippany, New Jersey publishes the editorial, "Don't consider restoring death penalty in NJ."
The death penalty was abolished in New Jersey in 2007 for good reason. It was useless, decades going by without a single execution. Instead, the death penalty merely served to generate an exhaustive and costly appeals process that seemingly never reached a conclusion.
Supporters of capital punishment say the way around that problem is to speed the appeals; or, put another way, provide defendants with fewer opportunities to challenge the sentence. What that does, however, is make it more likely that someone would be unjustly killed for a crime he didn’t commit. The state cannot allow that to happen, even if the possibility appears remote; the legal system isn’t foolproof, and many innocent people across the nation have been imprisoned, even on death row. They can be freed, eventually, but they can’t be resurrected from the grave.
New Jersey’s repeal also effectively rejected the notion of capital punishment as a deterrent, and while there have been countless studies offering varied arguments pro and con over many, many years, there is still no compelling evidence that the death penalty works in reducing murders.
But some state legislators want to take a step back into a less enlightened era, with bills that would restore the death penalty for certain types of murders, most notably when law enforcement officers are the victims. Asssembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick recently cited the killings of officers in Texas and Colorado as fresh motivation to support existing bills proposing to bring the death penalty back. Bramnick said that when law enforcement officers are murdered, the death penalty is the most “appropriate” punishment.
It’s a good thing Bramnick stuck with the theme of societal justice, because the deterrent argument won’t get him very far in this case; Texas and Colorado have the death penalty.
We’re troubled by the perception that cold-blooded, premeditated murders of certain people matter more than others, that there is somehow a higher level of victim that would justify the death penalty.
Earlier coverage from New Jersey begins at the link.