ACLU Calls on New Mexico's Governor to Halt State's First Execution in More than 41 Years

Affiliate: ACLU of New Mexico
November 6, 2001 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of New Mexico
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Statement of Diann Rust-Tierney, Director,
ACLU Capital Punishment Project


ALBUQUERQUE–The American Civil Liberties Union and its New Mexico affiliate today join other groups in opposing the first execution in the state of New Mexico in almost a half-century.

The ACLU calls on Governor Johnson to halt the execution of Terry Clark and we applaud his willingness to discuss possible death penalty reform in New Mexico.

New Mexico’s resumption of executions in the midst of a sea change in public opinion on the issue is very troubling and runs counter to genuine efforts toward reform. Public support for the death penalty – while still in the majority — has dropped significantly over the last several years. A growing number of Americans are concerned about inequities in the death penalty system and support reforms in the death penalty process.

In the past year alone, many states have considered moratoriums or reform legislation. Measures ranging from a ban on the execution of people with mental retardation in North Carolina and Kentucky to DNA testing in Texas, Florida and North Carolina to improved defense standards in Texas have been passed in local and state legislatures. Just last month, the governor of Kentucky said he would support an abolition of the death penalty for juveniles in that state.

In addition, two Supreme Court justices have gone on the record to express concern that the death penalty may not be administered fairly in the country, citing problems with conflict-free counsel and diminishing defense standards.

For more information on the death penalty, go to /DeathPenalty/DeathPenaltymain.cfm.

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