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New Jersey Governor Calls for Death Penalty Moratorium
12/7/2004 9:35 AM

New Jersey Governor Richard Codey (pictured) proposed a moratorium on executions until a study commission could determine whether the state's death penalty system is fair and cost effective. The governor announced his moratorium proposal as the legislature began considering a bill to initiate the study. "The governor does not think it makes sense to do a study without a moratorium. So he does support a moratorium right now, and he supports it for 18 months to two years," Codey's spokeswoman, Kelley Heck, stated. Codey, who is also President of the New Jersey Senate, called for the halt to executions as he stalled a Senate vote on legislation that would have created a 13-member death penalty study commission. The bill would create a panel to determine whether the death penalty is consistent with "evolving standards of decency," whether it is discriminatory, and whether it is worth its cost - both in money for lawyers and the risk of executing an innocent defendant. Senator Shirley Turner, sponsor of the study commission legislation, echoed Codey's call for a moratorium and added, "If we're going to study the death penalty, I think we should not allow anyone to be executed until the report is in." New Jersey has not executed anyone in 41 years, and executions in the state are currently on hold as the Department of Corrections devises new lethal injection rules. The current execution procedures were struck down in February because they shrouded executions in secrecy and made no provisions for halting one once it was started, even in the event of a last-minute reprieve. (Star-Ledger, December 7, 2004). See Innocence and Costs (from the Death Penalty Information Center).

Cited in: NEW VOICES: New Jersey Governor Calls for Death Penalty Moratorium, Death Penalty Information Center, 7 December 2004.