"Now, make no mistake: by this action, society is not forgiving these heinous crimes or acts that have caused immeasurable pain to the families and brought fear to society. The perpetrators of these actions deserve absolutely no sympathy and the criminals deserve the strictest punishment that can be imposed without imposing death. That punishment is life in prison without parole."

New Jersey Gov. Corzine

"I will never forget how I've been abused by a state and a governor that was supposed to protect the innocent and enforce the laws."

Marilyn Flax, whose husband, Irving, was abducted and murdered in 1989 by death-row inmate John Martini Sr.

"The word will travel around the globe that there is a state in the United States of America that was the first to show that life is stronger than death, that love is greater than hatred, and compassion and standing for the dignity of the human person is stronger than the need for revenge."

Sister Helen Prejean,

the Roman Catholic nun

who wrote "Dead Man Walking."

"Sparing the lives of brutal murderers only a week before Christmas will leave a hole in the hearts of surviving family members that will never heal,"

Assembly Minority Leader

Alex DeCroce (R., Morris).