Death Penalty Banned in New Mexico

The death penalty is no more in New Mexico—Gov. Bill Richardson has signed a law abolishing it. “This has been the most difficult decision of my political career,” he said as he signed the law making New Mexico the 15th state to ban capital punishment. “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,” Richardson said. “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.” Supporters of a repeal of the death penalty, which was reinstate in 1976, hailed the decision, calling it a “great day for New Mexico.” The state’s most severe punishment now will be life in prison without the possibility of parole.