New Jersey Cans the Death Penalty; Lawmakers Go Against the Masses

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New Jersey joined 13 other states and most of the world’s industrialized democratic countries when it banned the death penalty today. It’s general assembly voted 44 to 36 in favor of a law that will end the practice, and Governor Jon Corzine is expected to sign it next week. Eight men are currently on New Jersey’s death row; their sentences will now be changed to life without the possibility of parole.

Lawmakers were swayed in large part by a report drafted by the Constitution Project’s national Death Penalty Committee. The committee, comprised of death penalty proponents and opponents alike, came to one unanimous and startling conclusion:

“Around the country, procedural safeguards and other assurances of fundamental fairness in the administration of capital punishment have been revealed to be deeply flawed.”

Funny thing is, most New Jerseyans support capital punishment. A recent poll found that 53 percent oppose ending the death penalty and a whopping 78 percent want to see child molesters and serial killers executed. This is a rare case of our political leaders taking a bold and decisive action because it’s morally right, not because it will please the masses.

—Celia Perry

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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