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March 13, 2009

New Mexico legislature votes to repeal death penalty

As detailed in this AP story, New Mexico may be on the verge of getting rid of capital punishment:

The state legislature voted today to repeal the death penalty, meaning New Mexico could become the 15th US state not to have capital punishment if the governor signs the bill into law. Governor Bill Richardson has opposed a repeal in the past, but now says he would consider signing it. "I haven't made a final decision," the governor said this week.

The state senate voted 24-18 today in favour of the bill, which replaces capital punishment with a sentence of life without parole.  The house approved it a month ago.

New Mexico, one of 36 states with capital punishment, has two men on death row whose sentences would not be affected by repeal.  The state has executed one man since 1960, convicted child killer Terry Clark in 2001.

I find a bit peculiar the reporting that the two men on New Mexico's death row would not be affected by repeal.  I would be surprised to see New Mexico official go forward with execution plans for these two capital defendants if Governor Richardson signs the repeal bill.  But I suppose it is possible (and constitutionally permissible) for the state to seek to carry out these older death sentences after a new repeal.

March 13, 2009 at 06:40 PM | Permalink

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http://www.koat.com/news/18933054/detail.html

Follow-up and video.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 15, 2009 12:53:58 AM

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