Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Mexico Reconsiders Death Penalty, Abolished in 2009

In 2009, New Mexico repealed the death penalty, but newly elected Republican Governor Susana Martinez said she wants lawmakers to reverse that decision so that juries have the option of choosing capital punishment for the worst criminals.

State Representative Dennis Kintigh, a retired FBI agent, shares Martinez's opinion that the death penalty should be on the books. He has a difference of opinion on how to go about it.

Kintigh, a Republican, introduced a bill Monday that calls on legislators to let the public decide the issue by referendum. His proposal, House Joint Resolution 6, would require a two-thirds vote from the House and the Senate to be placed on the 2012 general election ballot, according to the Farmington Daily News.

Governor Martinez, a career prosecutor before becoming governor, does not favor a referendum. Although, she never sought the death penalty as a prosecutor she wants to bring the death penalty back by statute.

A referendum would be an interesting approach to considering the death penalty. There are public opinion polls that indicate that as much as 64 percent of Americans support the death penalty. Those number come into question when respondents are given an alternative of live in prison without the possibility of parole. A referendum would put those questions to rest. The voters would decide.

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