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Preview – Lesniak-Turner Bill To Abolish Death Penalty Before Judiciary Panel

TRENTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday will consider legislation sponsored by Senators Raymond J. Lesniak and Shirley K. Turner to abolish the death penalty in New Jersey.

“This legislation (S171/2471) will ensure that the system of justice administered by our State is effective, consistent and just,” said Senator Lesniak, D-Union, a former proponent of capital punishment.

“The frequency of murders makes it obvious that the death penalty simply doesn’t work as a deterrent,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer, who sponsored laws to impose a moratorium on executions and to create the Death Penalty Study Commission. “The risks of executing innocent people and the costs of maintaining the necessary support systems for capital punishment far outweigh any benefits it brings to our society.”

Senator John H. Adler, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said he hopes the panel will sanction a merged bill which would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“This legislation will provide greater predictability to sentences for murder,” said Senator Adler. “We can help bring justice and closure for the families of murder victims, and do so without using a morally flawed system of capital punishment.”

Senator Lesniak said he opposes keeping the death penalty option for those convicted of terrorist-related murders.

“Terrorists want to be martyrs,” he said. “Let’s not give them another reason to commit heinous acts by singling them out for the death penalty.”

The panel is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m., Thursday, May 10th, in Room 4 of the State House Annex.

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