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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 122083 Find in a Library
Title: Reimposition of Capital Punishment in New Jersey: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion
Journal: Rutgers Law Review  Volume:41  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1988)  Pages:27-372
Author(s): L B Bienen; N A Weiner; D W Denno; P D Allison; D L Mills
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 346
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the first three years of operation of New Jersey's capital punishment statute, with emphasis on the statute's possible discriminatory impact.
Abstract: Data on 703 cases reaching final disposition at the trial stage during the first three years of the application of the capital punishment statute are studied. Special attention is focused on whether the capital case processing system was discriminatory and how prosecutors used their discretion to select certain cases for capital prosecution from among all cases eligible for capital prosecution. Death possible cases are identified. In order to place case analyses in perspective, the article includes a history of capital punishment in New Jersey from colonial times to the present and outlines the legislative history of capital punishment in New Jersey since enactment of the capital punishment statute in 1982. Other empirical works on capital punishment are discussed, along with research reporting case advancement by capital case processing stage. The article concludes that prosecutorial decision-making has few checks or balances at the early stages of capital case processing and treatment of capital cases showed possible differentiation by race of defendant and victim and county of jurisdiction. The State of New Jersey should demonstrate how its system of selecting capital cases for prosecution does not offend constitutional rights. 757 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Capital punishment
Index Term(s): Discretionary decisions; Discrimination; Minorities; New Jersey; Prosecutorial screening
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