On at least one front, progressive politics is beginning to pay off:
In a 44-36 vote, the Democrat-run state assembly replaced the death sentence with life in prison without parole.Couple this with the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court to hear challenges to lethal injections as a form of execution, as well as many governors suspending death penalty sentences because of uncertainty over cruel and unusual, and we've got the makings of overturning an hideous decision by the highest court of this land to allow the government to serve in God's stead.
The bill is expected to be signed into law by Democratic Governor Jon Corzine - an opponent of the death penalty.
The move would make New Jersey the first US state to abolish capital punishment since the US Supreme Court reinstated executions in 1976.
New Jersey joins thirteen other states now in banning the death penalty. Thirty-six more have some form of execution on the books and, of course, execution is still a possible Federal penalty, meaning many cases that rightly should be tried in state courts are being prosecuted at the Federal level, thus unnecessarily tying up courts that have better things to do than play God.
2006 saw the lowest execution rates in the US in ten years, and this year looks like it will be even lower.
I understand the position of people who believe in the death penalty. They believe that death = justice, an eye for an eye, but I believe that only God can truly look into someone's heart and make the determination as to whether they deserve to die or to suffer eternal punishment. No one believes that someone who has raped and killed a child (one of the Jersey prisoners this affects was Jessie Timmendequas, whose hideous crime instituted Megan's Law across the land) should be let lose, but what about a case like Robert Marshall, who was accused and convicted in his wife's murder and spent 18 years on death row in New Jersey, only to be freed in 2004 when evidence exonerating him was uncovered?
How would the state have presumed "justice" there? A monetary payout to his family?
Would Marshall have been anymore "brought back" than Megan Kanka by that "justice"?
We have not the capacity to look into God's mind and discover who truly is evil and who truly is good (and for that matter, I have my doubts about God's own nature in this matter). Until we can truly do that, and uncover who really is guilty and who is not, we cannot kill. Period.
After all, if anyone deserves to die, it would be a country's leader who has killed thousands of that country's youth as a result of his deliberation and intentional lies.
But no one has put George W Bush on death row...