innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Monday, January 09, 2006

New Jersey likely to halt death penalty

New Jersey governor, Richard Codey, has indicated he would sign legislation to stop executions in the state to study the fairness and cost of imposing the death penalty before leaving office on Jan. 17.

If signed the bill would make New Jersey the third state to suspend executions. Twelve states have appointed study commissions in light of the recent trend in wrongful convictions as well as to study whether minorities and the poor are more likely to be given the death penalty.

In light of new advances in identification by DNA, some lawmakers are favoring putting the death penalty on hiatus to ensure lives are not being taken unjustly.

The late Roger Keith Coleman of Virginia was executed by electric chair in 1992. Nearly 15 years later there may be DNA evidence that proves the wrongful death and conviction of Coleman. Centurion Ministries, a New Jersey-based innocence organization, asked for the retesting of DNA evidence in the case in 2002 and was denied.

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