WHEREAS, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is acutely aware of the grave deficiencies identified by New Jersey Legislature’s Death Penalty Study Commission in the implementation of the Death Penalty in New Jersey, and in the United States. NOW THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED, that the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, reiterating and reinforcing its vigorous opposition to the infliction of death as punishment for crime, commends the Death Penalty Study Commission for its solid recommendations to abolish the use of the use of the Death Penalty for crimes against the State of New Jersey, and to use any cost savings resulting thereof for benefits and services for survivors of victims of homicide.
RESOLVED, that after studying the Report and due consideration, the NACDL concurs with the Death Penalty Study Commission’s FINDINGS as laid out in the Report or as amended by the Board that
(1) There is no compelling evidence that the New Jersey death penalty rationally serves a legitimate penological intent.
(2) The costs of the death penalty are greater than the costs of life in prison without parole, but it is not possible to measure these costs with any degree of precision.
(3) There is increasing evidence that the death penalty is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency.
[The Board does not concur with Finding Number (4); invidious racial discrimination impacts the application of the death penalty nationwide.]1
(5) Abolition of the death penalty will eliminate the risk of disproportionality in capital sentencing.
(6) The penological interest in executing a small number of persons guilty of murder is not sufficiently compelling to justify the risk of making an irreversible mistake.
[The Board adopts an amended version of Finding Number (7): Life imprisonment without parole is an acceptable and effective alternative to the death penalty and increases the likelihood of restitution to survivors.]2
(8) Sufficient funds should be dedicated to ensure adequate services and advocacy for the families of murder victims.
AND FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislature of the State of New Jersey, through the appropriate Committees, and with the full support of the executive and judicial branches, draft and pass an Act implementing the recommendations of the Death Penalty Study Commission and abolishing capital punishment within the State.
- Commission Finding Number 4 states: “(4) The available data do not support a finding of invidious racial bias in the application of the death penalty in New Jersey.”
- Commission Finding Number 7 states: “(7) The alternative of life imprisonment in a maximum security institution without the possibility of parole would sufficiently ensure public safety and address other legitimate social and penological interests, including the interests of the families of murder victims.”
San Diego, California