state of civil and political rights:
year of last executions: 0-0-0
death sentences: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
On December 17, 2007, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed a law approved by lawmakers abolishing the death penalty in the state. Bill proponents, including Corzine, have argued that capital punishment spends more tax dollars than life in prison without parole, and say that capital punishment statistically does not deter homicide.
On December 16 the Democratic governor commuted the sentences of eight inmates, sentenced to death, to life in prison with no chance for parole.
New Jersey became the first US state in four decades to vote to abolish the death penalty.
On January 9, 2006, New Jersey lawmakers approved a moratorium on the death penalty, becoming the first state to impose a moratorium on executions through legislation. Governor Richard Codey signed the bill on January 12. The state Assembly voted 55 to 21 with two abstentions to suspend the death penalty until a commission report due to be given to lawmakers and the governor.
The commission had to study whether the death penalty deters crime and whether there is a significant difference between the cost of the death penalty and that of life without parole.
On January 2, 2007, after extensive public hearings, the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission issued a report calling for an end to the state's death penalty and replacing it with a sentence of life without parole. The 13-member Commission was appointed by the state legislature, which also placed a moratorium on all executions until a report was prepared. Their report cited the risks of executing the innocent, the high costs of the death penalty, and society's evolving standards of decency in calling for the abolition of capital punishment. The County Prosecutors' Association of New Jersey concurred with the final recommendations of the Commission Report.