Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Mexico Bringing Back the Death Penalty?

The state outlawed capital punishment in 2009

Much has been made of New Mexico, New Jersey and Illinois recently abolishing the death penalty.  Many observers of the criminal justice system cite these state actions as indicative of the death penalty falling out of favor with the American people. 

However, in at least one of those states the death penalty may not be completely gone.  New Mexico State Representative Dennis Kintigh has introduced a constitutional amendment to restore the death penalty in certain circumstances, including the murder of a police officer, according to the Associated Press.

New Mexico abolished the death penalty in 2009, replacing it with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Constitutional amendments need voter approval to be implemented.  Kintigh is a retired FBI agent. If his proposal clears the Legislature, it will be left to New Mexico voters to decide whether to reinstate the death penalty.

Two men are on death row. Their sentences were not affected by the 2009 law repealing the death penalty.

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