Friday, December 14, 2007

New Jersey Leads The Way, Rejecting Capital Punishment

Congratulations to the State of New Jersey for eliminating the death penalty.

It's a barbaric, wasteful practice.

The US Supreme Court has been inching closer to declaring lethal injection a cruel and unusual punishment banned by the US Constitution, leading to a de facto moratorium on executions in many states.

New Jersey's leadership should embolden other states to end the death penalty, freeing up resources to fight crime without committing state-sponsored homicides in the process.

When I was at the Milwaukee Journal in 1995, I wrote a long series on capital punishment, and witnessed what was the first execution in Texas under the new administration of then-Gov. George W. Bush.

I came away from the experience convinced that it served no good purpose other than achieving a long-delayed measure of vengeance - - hardly the sign of a modern state.

Most countries around the world have ended capital punishment, and Wisconsin's long history of banning executions is a solid piece of the state's progressive tradition.

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