Thank-You, Governor Richardson!
On Thursday, 18 March 2008, Governor Bill Richardson SIGNED legislation abolishing the death penalty in New Mexico and replacing it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. I urge all who greet this development as good news to contact Gov. Richardson and thank him for signing this historic legislation.
You can call Gov. Richardson’s office at 505-476-2200, drop him a postcard or letter at:
Governor Bill Richardson, Office of the Governor, 490 Old Santa Fe Trail, Room 400, Santa Fe, NM 87501.
Or email the governor at this web page: http://www.governor.state.nm.us/emailchoice.php?mm=6
Just as it is important to complain to politicians when they do wrong (and to complain about them in the press), petition them, etc., so also it is important to thank them and praise them when they do right. In America, any politician who works on prison reform or the abolition (or even restriction) of the death penalty, or defends the rights of prisoners or the accused, etc. will face public criticism and be accused by the Right of being “soft on crime.” So they have to know that many people appreciate their efforts and moral courage.
If you share the abolitionist stance of this blog (and, as I promised a reader, I will make a careful case for the abolition of the death penalty in a series of posts in April), then I urge you to contact Governor Richardson and thank him for his efforts–and tell him to thank the people of the New Mexico legislature that passed the bill.
Also, the repeal was not retroactive, so New Mexico still has people on death row. Ask Gov. Richardson to commute the sentences of the remaining death row population to life imprisonment.
As I have chronicled in this space, similar legislation is pending in many U.S. states. I expect that either New Hampshire or Colorado will be the next to join the 15 states and the District of Columbia where the death penalty is outlawed, but there are several other possibilities.
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