The New Jersey legislature yesterday voted to abolish the death penalty, becoming the first state to do so formally since executions were re-instated in the U.S. in 1976:
The Assembly voted 44-36 on Thursday to approve the legislation, which passed the Senate on Monday by a 21-16 vote. Gov. Jon S. Corzine said he will sign it within a week.
New Jersey reinstated the death penalty in 1982, six years after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to resume executions, but nobody has been executed in the Garden State since 1963.
New Jersey has been barred from executing anyone under a 2004 court ruling that declared invalid the state's lethal injection procedures.
A special state commission found in January that the death penalty was a more expensive sentence than life in prison, hasn't deterred murder, and could kill innocent people.