NM Governor Bill Richardson MUST decide today whether to sign a bill abolishing the death penalty in NM. The betting is about 6-5 that he'll sign it.
If he does, NM will become the 15th state to abolish it.
After years and years of trying, abolition advocates finally got the bill through the Legislature this year.
Over recent years, the death penalty has become less and less tenable, as evidence has emerged that innocent people have been killed by the State, and that the measures to prevent that were so lax; that it has been inequitably sought and applied (the majority of death-sentences are levied against black or brown "perps" who are alleged to have killed 'whites'), and that it has become too expensive, due to pre-execution litigation and the cost of maintaining death row.
Richardson said recently that in the aftermath of 9/11 he had become an advocate for the death penalty, but recent investigations and revelations were changing his mind. He doesn't say so, but he cannot have been ignorant of the actions of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan who, on the brink of incarceration himself, ended the death penalty in his state.
I have been of a somewhat mixed mind, personally. I think guys like Bernie Madoff--whose financial predations were responsible for the immiseration of hundreds of people, and is unofficially tied to the actual deaths of several more--should face the ultimate sanction. I would sometimes like to test the Right-wing/Flying Monkey assertion that the death penalty was a deterrent, on the most egregious thieves and bunco-scammers.
But I was greatly affected when, some dozen or so years ago, I read the results of a study which reported that, by a small margin, bloody-minded Murkins approved the death penalty EVEN when there was undeniable evidence that innocent parties had been and always would be killed killed by the conscious action of the State.
Snark--i.e., executing Madoff--aside, the death penalty is a barbaric holdover from an earlier, more brutal, less knowledgeable time, and it is time that the USofA join the rest of the civilized world in ending this travesty of justice.