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New Jersey legislature suspends executions, sets up death penalty study

[JURIST] The New Jersey Legislature [official website] passed a bill [draft text] Monday to suspend executions and create a New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission [statement, PDF] to examine all aspects of the death penalty [JURIST news archive], including its fairness and costs. The 13-member commission will report back to the legislature in November on whether the death penalty is consistent with evolving standards of decency, whether the selection of defendants for capital murder is arbitrary and unfair, and whether alternatives exist that would promote public safety and address the needs of victims' families. The legislation received bipartisan support and Governor Richard J. Codey [official website] has indicated he will approve it. New Jersey reinstated the death penalty in 1982, although the last execution there took place in 1963; there are currently 10 prisoners on death row. Although New Jersey is the first state to suspend executions through formal legislation, other states like Illinois and Maryland have passed similar suspensions by executive order. Twelve other states have ordered similar study commissions. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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