The legislature in New Jersey could barely wait until the election was over in November to set the wheels in motion to do away with the death penalty in New Jersey. It didn’t take them long to get it done. The state senate today abolished the death penalty and Governor Corzine promises to sign the bill into law next week.
Well, alrighty then.
It is not surprising that this legislative missile was kept in its silo until after the election, because none of the creeps running for office wanted to take a public position on an issue that is so controversial and so divides the electorate.
It turns out that, when someone got around to actually asking the people of New Jersey what they thought about the matter, the voters of New Jersey are divided on the issue, but not all that much.
A Quinnipiac University poll found that by a margin of 53 to 39%, New Jersey voters opposed eliminating the death penalty. But, when asked whether they preferred a life sentence without the possibility of parole over the death penalty for first degree murderers they split 52 to 39%, with 52% preferring the life sentence. Most interesting, however, is that 78% of those polled wanted the death penalty kept for extremely violent offenders such as f serial killers and child killers.
One thing that is clear about these results is that they don’t support the legislature’s lightening fast abolition of the death penalty in all cases. What they do support is all-too-often demonstrations of the unbridled arrogance, bordering on contempt, that the legislature has for the citizens of New Jersey.
The abolition of the death penalty means that one of the people who no longer has to worry about being put to death is Jesse K. Timmendequas,
Timmendequas lived with two other convicted sex offenders across the street from his victim [seven-year old Megan Kanka]. He lured the girl into his house by offering to show her a puppy. After raping her, he slammed her head onto a dresser, put two plastic bags over her head, and strangled her to death with a belt. He moved her body to his truck, assaulting her once again before placing her in a wooden toy chest and dumping it in nearby Mercer County Park.
I think there is room for reasonable debate about the application of the death penalty, particularly in light of the importance of DNA evidence, which has been used to exonerate innocent offenders (and convict the guilty – except for O.J.). But, that leaves plenty of room to argue that pieces of shit like Jesse Timmendequas should have been put to death years ago. Instead, he’ll get to live, have three squares per day, use the prison library, write appeals, watch TV, perhaps write a book, and maybe even like that other animal, “Tookie” Williams, he’ll become a celebrity fave.
Meanwhile, Megan Kanka is still dead.
Hat tip to The Idiom for reminding me about the animal, Jesse Timmendequas.