Death Penalty Debate

Looks like there will be a lively debate over the death penalty now that Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts and Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo have announced plans to make New Jersey the first state in the country to legislatively abolish capital punishment.

Regardless of how you feel about the death penalty, the issue was the basis for one of the best examples of advocacy journalism in recent years. After the Chicago Tribune published a multi-part series that exposed flaws in the state’s legal system that may have led to individuals being wrongly sentenced to death, then-Illinois Governor Ryan announced a moratorium on executions and the creation of a special commission to study death penalty reform. The series, which may have literally saved innocent peoples’ lives, won a Pulitzer Prize.

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