TRENTON – Senate President Pro Tempore Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer, made the following statement today in anticipation of final legislative approval by the Assembly of S-709, her bill that would place a moratorium on the use of the death penalty while a Study Commission investigates its use by the State:
“Today is a day that has been years in the making. While it would have been better had the Death Penalty Study Commission begun its work two years ago when the Legislature passed this bill for the first time, the addition of a moratorium has ultimately made this measure stronger.
“With bipartisan support in both Houses of the Legislature and the strong backing of Governor Codey, we can finally begin to study the manner in which the death penalty is used in New Jersey and if it is truly worth $250 million to have a punishment that is never used.
“For our criminal justice system to be completely fair, it must be devoid of any policies or procedures which discriminate based on racial, ethnic, or economic status. Nationally, it has been documented that the death penalty does discriminate, and this Study Commission will provide us the chance to see if that holds true for New Jersey as well.”