New Mexico Repeals Death Penalty — Kansas and Montana May Follow Suit

180px-singchairThe New Mexico Legislature voted 24-18 to repeal the death penalty and replaced it with life without parole. Two other states — Kansas and Montana — may follow suit this month.

The vote is the latest state to move away from the death penalty. The United States is one of the few Western nations still imposing the death penalty and citizens in various states are looking at repeals.

That leaves 35 states with capital punishment. If Kansas and Montana repeal the death penalty this month, it could spark a trend that could easily see half of the United States stand against capitol punishment. Kansas will debate the measure today.

There are currently two people on death row in New Mexico, which has only executed one man in the past 49 years, a convicted child killer named Terry Clark in 2001.

For the full story, click here.

37 thoughts on “New Mexico Repeals Death Penalty — Kansas and Montana May Follow Suit”

  1. Way to go New Mexico! Welcome to the 21st century. Capital punishment has been about as effective in stopping violent crime as throwing virgins into volcanos has been in appeasing the Great Mountain Spirit. But then again, killin’ bad guys makes dumb guys feel good!

    That fact that we’ve most certainly executed innocent people since the death penalty have been brought back doesn’t seem to trouble said dumb guys, since those executed tend to be low-lifes, negros, an’ Mexicans. YEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWW!

  2. FFLEO,
    What’s key in your comment is that the politics rule the logic, as usual.

  3. Mike Spindell,

    I agree that this is a tough issue, it will not be resolved soon, and the use of–or the desire for–the death penalty is likely to ebb and flow depending on those most affected by crime and what party is in control of any State legislature at any given time.

  4. I have always been opposed to the death penalty and so I am heartened by this story. For me as for others here the primary
    reason for my opposition is simply that one person wrongly executed is one too many. Secondly, I believe that a Life term with no possibility of parole is a far crueler fate. However,
    FFLEO’s reasoning also resonates with me because there are some so evil in their deeds that they seem not to deserve to live. While from a moral perspective I can see some sense to this, I am too suspicious of what would trul constitute conclusive proof to ever want to take the chance of getting it wrong. Eye witnesses are often unreliable and video/photographic evidence, like DNA and fingerprints are subject to tampering.

    Unfortunately, I’ve read too many mystery’s, espionage stories and watched too much “24” (to those who think all leftists are subject to “groupthink”)to not realize that all evidence is suspect and “beyond a reasonable doubt” doesn’t mean the real truth will always be shown.

  5. I was just coming back from a meeting and listening to NPR in the car. The topic was the death penalty. I knew death penalty cases were expensive to prosecute, but the numbers they threw out were staggering. Based on a Florida study, one of the few cost comparison studies done apparently, life imprisonment costs $1.3m while the total cost of death penalty litigations was $3.5m. They amended that number after a sociologist pointed out some misplacement of costs in their calculations and the death penalty number was $7.5m. Now while I agree there are certain types of criminals that deserve death as they are incapable of any rehabilitation and pose a constant threat should they ever be released or escape, that disparity in costs was shocking enough to make me reconsider the practicality of the death penalty vs. life imprisonment as a fiscal matter alone. Why cut social programs as a budgetary matter, removing valuable safety nets that the loss of could contribute to a rise in crime, when monies could be freed by changing containment strategy for dangerous socio/psychopaths? That is the very situation Kansas and Missouri face today. It’s something to think about. I know I will be.

  6. mespo –

    You’re using a legal definition, which I will concede is perhaps more appropriate on a legal blog. I’m using what I regard as a more accurate definition from a moral/ethical standpoint.

  7. Buddha,

    I was reinforcing your point that the science is sound, but that human element is where the doubt enters. I was mainly speaking to “It seems with forensics labs abuse stories I’ve read concerned non-DNA evidence.”

  8. Gyges,

    None of that makes PCR bad science. It simply modifies the utility of the test.

  9. FFLEO,

    I am so sorry that anyone you loved was murdered. I know that pain can’t help but stay with you for life and I am again, so deeply sorry that this happened.


  10. LarryE,

    I would not want to—nor could I—tear a murderer apart; however, I would advocate for the same type of humane death for a murderer that some people suffering from severe, chronic, and debilitating pain might request for themselves in a Right-to-Die jurisdiction. I am a peaceable man and I dreaded the day that I might have to draw my firearm to inflict deadly harm on a violator. Fortunately, that day never occurred.

    Bron, regarding your question about how does one get over the torture and murder of a loved one or a close relative who suffered at the hands of a sadistic serial killer; in my case I never have, nor will I ever. My remembrances of the crime are frequent, although it occurred twenty-five years ago.

    I know that the death penalty is a difficult and controversial subject, but as vicious crimes continue to increase, more people are going to experience the direct pain that others and I have experienced and then you might understand. Even then, many people affected will still oppose death for the most heinous of murderers. In my worldview, life ceases at death with no ‘afterlife’; therefore, justice must be administered here and now for the worst socio-/psychopathic killers in the most humane ‘euthanasia’ method possible.

    Mespo, thank you for keeping us all legally precise when using the terms murder and homicide. People often refer to the death penalty as State-sponsored murder, or variations thereof.

  11. LarryE:

    “officially-sanctioned murder – which is what the death penalty is…”


    Sorry LarryE but “murder,” by its very definition*, can never be “officially sanctioned.” Homicide of course may well be as in the case of a war, self-defense, or the death penalty itself. Sloppy language leads to sloppy thinking, and we have enough of that already in this country.

    *”Murder” is usually defined as the unlawful killing of another human being with intent (or malice aforethought) by a person of sound and disposing mind.

  12. FFLEO –

    Think of what you might want

    I wouild want to tear them apart; I would want to kill them with my bare hands and believe me when I tell you I am capable of it.

    But that’s why we have laws! That’s why we have a court system! So we don’t act on the basis of blind rage and blood vengeance.

    It was Dostoevsky who said “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” I want us to have a prison system that says we’re civilized and I cannot accept that one that includes officially-sanctioned murder – which is what the death penalty is – can be part of that.

  13. DNA testing is reliable. There is no doubt about that. It’s the humans doing the collection and testing that are the issue. It seems with forensics labs abuse stories I’ve read concerned non-DNA evidence. However, those errors make it not unreasonable to think there are possible errors in their procedures even those related to the DNA. A botched label here, a clerical error there. That is a wedge for reasonable doubt, tut PCR and DNA profiling is solid science. I’ll defer to Patty on the details.

  14. Mespo,

    I agree with your concern about jurors. DNA evidence can easily be transferred, planted, and manipulated and that must concern everyone. However, I am speaking of the direct video evidence against the L.H. Oswald’s of the world; the human remains buried on the property of serial/cannibalistic murderers coupled with other irrefutable evidence connecting the killers to those bodies, such as the J.Dahmer, and J.W. Gacey, etc. Also included, the types of killings such as the prison inmate who killed his cellmate (the Oklahoma prison topic within this blawg), if the killing is unequivocally established with corroborating evidence of security video, several adjacent cellmates’ definitive eyewitness accounts and other evidence. To be sure, some prison guards might be capable of killing an inmate (or allowing a murder) and then claiming that another inmate murdered the person.

    The death penalty standard must be far beyond the reasonable doubt threshold and circumstantial cases would never meet that standard.

  15. FFLEO:

    How do/did you handle that type of thing? Iknow this dosent mean much but thank you for being a Sheep Dog and keeping us safe at night.

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