NEW MEXICO (USA): LAWMAKERS VOTE TO REPEAL DEATH PENALTY
March 13, 2009: The New Mexico Senate passed HB285 (a repeal bill) 24-18. The House had approved it 40-28 on Feb. 11. Now the bill goes to Gov. Bill Richardson. The legislation replaces the death penalty with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. There are two men on the state's death row whose sentences would not be affected by repeal. The state has executed one man in the past 49 years, Terry Clark in 2001.
At least eight states considered repeal legislation this year, with some repeal supporters arguing that in these tough economic times, death penalty trials and appeals are too costly. But New Mexico senators didn't touch on that argument during nearly three hours of debate. Instead, death penalty opponents said it does not deter killing, it's administered unfairly, and there's a risk of executing innocent people. (Sources: Ap, 13/03/2009)