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New Mexico Abolishes Death Penalty!

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March 18, 2009

Tonight, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson signed HB 285, Repeal of the Death Penalty. He said in a statement:

Regardless of my personal opinion about the death penalty, 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. 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. The system is inherently defective…Innocent people have been put on death row all across the country.

The ACLU applauds Gov. Richardson for taking this bold step. John Holdridge, Director of the ACLU’s Capital Punishment Project, said in a statement:

“Gov. Richardson’s decision today to sign the bill abolishing the death penalty in New Mexico is a historic step and a clear sign that the United States continues to make significant progress toward eradicating capital punishment once and for all. Gov. Richardson’s courageous and enlightened decision should send a powerful message to other states, governors and Americans about the need to take a hard look at our error-prone, discriminatory and bankrupting system of capital punishment. It is a system incapable of ensuring that innocent lives are not unjustly taken. It is a system plagued by racial, economic and geographic discrimination. And it is a system that police chiefs, criminologists and statistical experts around the country agree does not deter crime. Gov. Richardson deserves enormous credit for acting in the best interests of the people of his state and the people of this country.”

Thank you to everyone who flooded Gov. Richardson’s office asking him to sign the bill!

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