New Mexico Abolishes the Death Penalty

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On March18, 2009 New Mexico’s Governor Richardson signed into law a bill to abolish the death penalty. The Governor released this statement “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 dies. 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. But the reality is the system is not perfect – far from it.”

There we several factors that led to this surprising decision. The anti-death penalty campaign, New Mexico (NM) Repeal, found that 68% pf death penalty convictions are overturned at the federal and state level. Another reason pushing the bill was the New Mexico Public Defender’s office would save about 2 million dollars per year and it did not account the cost to the Attorney General’s office, local courts, and public-funded attorneys.

NM Repeal as well as Grassroots Organization and Mobilization, Public Education and Media, and Legislative Advocacy all targeted all people who supported the death penalty including: Senators, Representatives, and Lieutenant Governor.


Title: Abolishing the Death Penalty in New Mexico

Publication: PeaceWork, May 2009


Author: Viki Elkey

Faculty Evaluator: Suzel A. Bozada-Deas

Student Researcher: Tracena Webster

Corporate Media Coverage/

Sonoma State University