New Jersey's Road to Abolition

Posted: 8 Sep 2017

Date Written: January 1, 2008


New Jersey reinstated capital punishment in 1982. The New Jersey Supreme Court reversed nearly every capital conviction that it reviewed between 1982 and 2007. Twenty-five years later, on December 17, 2007, the State of New Jersey officially abolished the death penalty and replaced it with life without the possibility of parole. This article examines multiple converging factors that contributed to abolition, including the New Jersey Supreme Court's decision making in capital cases, public-opinion data, political conditions, and the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission hearings and report. This article suggests that New Jersey judicial decision making fostered a culture of ambivalence toward capital punishment, which, when combined with a host of unique political and social factors, made abolition possible.

Keywords: death penalty, New Jersey, abolition, capital punishment

Suggested Citation

Henry, Jessica, New Jersey's Road to Abolition (January 1, 2008). Available at SSRN:

Jessica Henry (Contact Author)

Montclair State University ( email )

Department of Justice Studies
1 Normal Avenue
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043
United States

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