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July 19, 2015

Notable talk of bringing back the death penalty in two nearby US states

Two states that recently repealed their death penalty are now having folks discussing, as detailed in these two new media pieces, bringing back the ultimate punishment:

While the capital reform story in Nebraska has received broad coverage, I have not seen too much discussion on this topic from New Mexico. Here are excerpts from the capital story from the Land of Enchantment:

State leaders, including Governor Susana Martinez, discussed possible solutions to New Mexico's beleaguered justice system in the wake of an investigation about the state's 'boomerang thugs.'

KOB revealed how there are only 12 officers tasked with locating roughly 1,700 absconders and learned many criminals charged with child sex crimes have mastered the art of receiving sweetheart plea deals.

Commit a violent crime, there should be expectations -- courtrooms, fines and handcuffs. However, the system that's supposed to uphold those expectations, and keep the worst of the worst criminals locked up, has fallen apart. "So, the problem isn't throwing people in jail, or sending people to prison, it's who we send to prison," Rep. Moe Maestas, D-Albuquerque, said....

Maestas said the system is backwards when it comes to prosecuting drug crimes versus violent crimes. He said drug users are demonized, in need of help, as violent criminals go free. "To prosecute violent crimes, it is very labor intensive," Maestas said. "You have to build a relationship with the alleged victim, and that's just not being done."...

Corrections Department Secretary Gregg Marcantel is just as frustrated as the 12 people on his fugitive task force unit responsible for trying to round up the absconders. "It's a never-ending game, a revolving door," one of them said. That comes as Secretary Marcantel struggles to keep people working in the state's prisons. "I hate to admit this, but I compete with McDonald's in Santa Fe for my staff," he said. Marcantel said some prospective employees to corrections facilities in Santa Fe would prefer to flip burgers for the city's minimum wage of $10.84 rather than earn slightly more, $12.35, to be a corrections officer cadet.

KOB approached Governor Martinez, a longtime prosecutor, to hear her thoughts on a justice system that seems badly broken. Last year, she supported a pay raise for some corrections officers, which helped reduce job vacancies in one office from 50 percent to five percent. Her office said it improved the career ladder and offered promotion opportunities for probation and parole officers. Martinez also wants to beef up the fugitive task force unit to send a message to absconders....

She said lawmakers should step in for once to make laws and penalties tougher while allocating more resources to the Corrections Department on the whole. Martinez also said she wants lawmakers to reinstate the death penalty in New Mexico, which was abolished in 2009. She said, in her experience, criminal offenders feel more compelled to cooperate with investigators when confronted with it.

July 19, 2015 at 01:47 PM | Permalink


According to Wikipedia, there are two people still on death row in NM. That's one more than was executed since Gregg v. Georgia in the mid-1970s.

I'm unsure with such numbers how much more people would be willing to negotiate with the prosecution especially when long terms of prison isn't pleasant, especially if it is LWOP. That would likely be a token way to address crime policy in the state and in the process bring up the usual problems that rise with the death penalty, down to questionable coercion to plea (the very point apparently).

Posted by: Joe | Jul 19, 2015 2:34:22 PM

The families of the murder victims should visit all the anti-victim legislators, with the lash. Tie them to the tree outside the legislature. To deter. These legislators are not even human. They are pro-criminal, anti-victim, pro-big government rent seeking reptiles. they deserve no human consideration.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 19, 2015 4:54:50 PM

"KOB approached Governor Martinez, a longtime prosecutor"

And that is all we need to know....

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 19, 2015 5:41:02 PM

Add West Virginia and Alaska as well time to EXPAND DP killers rapists terrorists all around and states are afraid to vote on DP. Good grief. We are doomed as a nation. LWOP is a joke. just look at all the recent escapes.

Posted by: DeanO | Jul 19, 2015 9:42:06 PM

Martinez is going against the grain of national debate, playing the typical games of the past in trying to look tough, regardless of the impact on state finances, quality of the penal system, or quality of the judicial process. This brand of brash politics for perceived personal gain is old hat - and is being exposed as such by reforming Conservatives and Democrats who are really setting the national agenda. Lets hope the moderates in the state, and in other states, hold their nerve and see the job through. Its been long enough coming.

Posted by: peter | Jul 20, 2015 6:24:22 AM


You mention West Virginia in your comment at Jul 19, 2015 9:42:06 PM.

A year ago or so you mentioned West Virginia in the same context. I asked you then: Why West Virginia? You didn't answer.

So I'm asking you again. Why West Virginia?

Posted by: Fred | Jul 21, 2015 4:12:51 PM

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