Women and the Death Penalty in the United States, 1900-1998

By Kathleen A. O'Shea | Go to book overview

21
New Jersey: Lethal Injection

The state of New Jersey has given four women the death penalty since 1900. No woman has been legally executed in New Jersey and there is one woman on death row in New Jersey today.

New Jersey is one of ten states that have death penalty laws where there has been no execution since the death penalty was reinstated. The last execution in New Jersey took place in 1963.

Since capital punishment was reinstated in 1982, forty-nine defendants have been sentenced to death in New Jersey. Two died while on death row. The state Supreme Court reversed the death sentences of 30 for reasons such as trial error and prosecutorial misconduct and upheld the sentences of nine others. Of the nine upheld, one defendant died.

The others are currently at various stages in the appeals process. Only one convicted murderer, Richard Marshall, who was the subject of a best-selling book and the made-for-TV movie "Blind Faith" has exhausted all his state court appeals. He was convicted of hiring someone to kill his wife, Maria, in order to collect her $1.5 million insurance policy and is appealing his death sentence in the federal courts, a process that could take several more years.


THE DEATH PENALTY IN NEW JERSEY

In July, 1996, the New Jersey Supreme Court reluctantly upheld a statute allowing relatives to testify during the sentencing phase of a capital trial, making families of murder victims parties in capital cases for the first time in the state. In upholding the constitutionality of this statute the Court reversed its previous position of rejecting the use of victim-impact statements. In the majority opinion, Justice Marie Garibaldi noted that the change was necessary

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