Death Penalty, News and Current Events, Political Issues, Politics

New Mexico Repeals its Death Penalty

Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico signed into law a bill repealing the death penality in his state this evening.  In a statement, he said:

Regardless of my personal opinion about the death penalty, I do not have confidence in the criminal justice system as it currently operates to be the final arbiter when it comes to who lives and who dies for their crime. If the State is going to undertake this awesome responsibility, the system to impose this ultimate penalty must be perfect and can never be wrong.

But the reality is the system is not perfect – far from it. The system is inherently defective. DNA testing has proven that. Innocent people have been put on death row all across the country.

The bill replaces the death penalty with life without parole.   There are 14 other states that have abolished the death penalty.

As you might expect, the bill was controversial.  The Governor’s office received “…10,847 phone calls, e-mails and walk-in comments from people who wanted to voice their opinions on the legislation” before Richardson signed the bill.  Of those, 8,102 were for a repeal of the death penalty and 2,745 were against it.

It seems no one in government quite wants to admit it, but surely innocent people have not just “been put on death row” — as Richardson states — but put to death.   That seems to me a good reason to oppose the death penalty.

9 thoughts on “New Mexico Repeals its Death Penalty”

  1. Hi Paul, I’ve heard two kinds of people arguing over abolishing capital punishment. The first group includes people like the governor who are not absolutely sure of our justice system. The second group includes religious people who claim that humans have no right to take life that was created by God. And I read your post right after reading a report of how the Chinese paraded pro-liberation supporters in Tibet and then shot them.


  2. “…surely innocent people have not just “been put on death row” — as Richardson states — but put to death. That seems to me a good reason to oppose the death penalty.”

    Hear, frakkin’ hear.

    – M. \”/


  3. If I saw someone intentionally injuring my loved ones, and if I had a pistol by my side, I would shoot them dead and never lose an instant’s sleep.

    I do not believe that the state should impose the death penalty.

    Is that inconsistent? I don’t believe so. I don’t care.


  4. @ Final Transit: That’s a fascinating insight into who is opposed to capital punishment! Thank you for that!

    @ Meowlin: Thanks!

    @ Twoblueday: I am in near complete agreement with you! The only difference is I’m not sure about whether I’d loose sleep over it or not. Now, whether it’s inconsistent — I don’t believe so. I think the state is not defending anyone, while you would be defending someone. I see that as a significant difference.


  5. Richardson did the right thing. The current state of the American justice system is not just imperfect (as are all human institutions), it’s totally screwed up.

    I’d rather err on the side of caution and spend money to keep criminals incarcerated for decades than execute one innocent person for a crime he or she did not commit. It’s bad enough when people serve hard time for crimes they didn’t do and are later exonerated and set free, but at least we have the option of finally getting it right and setting them free. The death penalty eliminates that option. Statistical probabilities tell me that our society has executed people who should not have been executed. It’s got to stop.


  6. To me it never made much sense to kill someone because they killed. The hypocrisy never made any sense and bothered me. Plus, if having the death penalty was a true deterrent to crime, one would expect states with the death penalty to have lower rates of violent crime. But, when we look at the data it just aint so. I did a cross reference of that site and US Census, and sure enough that first website seems to have the correct data…

    Now certainly there are other factors to be accounted for that this data doesn’t take into consideration, but the difference is still quite noticeably different.


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