Commission recommends New Jersey abolish death penalty

NEW YORK – An independent commission recommended that the US state of New Jersey abolish the death penalty, judging the punishment indecent and too susceptible to irreversible mistakes.

“There is increasing evidence that the death penalty is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency,” the 13-member commission of police officers, judges, attorneys and religious leaders said in its report.

“The commission recommends that the death penalty in New Jersey be abolished and replaced with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, to be served in a maximum security facility,” it added.

It further said there was no evidence that the death penalty served a legitimate penal purpose and said the argument for executions was not sufficiently compelling to outweigh the possibility of irreversible mistakes.

It is now up to New Jersey lawmakers and the state governor, who requested the commission be established last year, to decide whether to adopt any of its findings.

The state has nine inmates on death row, all of them with appeals pending.

New Jersey last executed a prisoner in 1963 and currently has a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which was reintroduced in the United States in 1976 after a four year suspension imposed by the US Supreme Court.