TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey lawmakers voted Monday to suspend executions while a task force studies the fairness and costs of imposing the death penalty.
The measure now heads to Gov. Richard J. Codey, who has indicated he will sign it before leaving office on Jan. 17.
Under the measure, a 13-member commission would have until November to report on whether the death penalty is fairly imposed and whether alternatives would ensure public safety and address the needs of victims' families.
This is a hopeful sign that the inequities of the death penalty in the United States will be scrutinized. New Jersey is the third state to declare a moratorium, but the first to do it legislatively.
California is also considering a legislative moratorium on the death penalty, according to this AP news release.