Friday, March 13, 2009

New Mexico Senate Approves HB 285
The Senate approved the measure on a vote of 24 yes, 18 no.  HB 285 would replace the state’s death penalty with a sentence of life in prison. Governor Bill Richardson has not said whether he will sign the bill, but has said that his past support of the death penalty has “softened,”
Dear Friend,
The time has come for personal contacts to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson urging him to take a leadership position on New Mexico’s groundbreaking package of legislation designed to better support the families of murder victims.  Please craft and send your personal message today.  A phone call would be great, and even better would be if you fax a letter, then follow it up with a telephone call.  An additional touch would be to also send the letter in the postal mail.

Thank you for taking this action today.  If you have any questions or I can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Viki Elkey
Executive Director 

New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty
PO Box 8552
Santa Fe, NM 87504
Fax: 505.986.9287
Cell: 505.205.3750

Information for calls, letters and faxes to NM Governor Bill Richardson

Address:        Office of the Governor

490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Room 400
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Telephone:    (505)827-3000

Fax:                (505)827-3026

Points to make in your message to the Governor:

Please encourage Governor Richardson to support HB 285 to abolish the death penalty in New Mexico, and also support HB 211 that allows for paid or unpaid leave for family members to attend court proceedings and HB 284 that expands services to murder victim family members in New Mexico.

It’s about helping murder victim families:

New Mexico will become the first state to TRULY put victims’ families first.  When murder happens, it is the family of the victim that suffers the most and the longest – yet our criminal justice system is focused on how to treat the murderer. It is time for the focus to return to the family, to address the harsh realities of losing a loved one. The Catastrophic Crime and Family Restitution Program would replace the death penalty with true life without parole and create an innovative package of services for the families of murder victims – the first such program in the country. This legislation is the toughest on criminals and the most compassionate to the families of the victim.


Public opinion supports this package of bills:

A statewide December 2008 poll of likely New Mexican voters showed that 64% support replacing the death penalty with life without parole plus restitution to victims’ families.  That number is higher for the following categories:

1.        Hispanic voters, 72%

2.        Democrats, 73%

3.        Roman Catholics, 73%

Keeping the death penalty means risking a wrongful execution:

At least 130 men and women who were convicted and sentenced to death have been released from death row nationwide since 1973 – less than 15% of them through DNA evidence.  Rather, it is false witness testimony, police misconduct and prosecutorial misconduct that put innocent men and women on death row in this country.   In 1974, New Mexico sentenced to death four innocent men, Thomas Gladis, Ronald Keine, Clarence Smith and Richard Greer, based on false witness testimony and police misconduct. A 1992 study found 23 cases since 1900 where innocent people were executed.

The death penalty costs too much:

According to the NM Public Defender Department, the abolition of the death penalty would save New Mexico several million dollars each year.  The costs of the death penalty are borne systemically, impacting the Public Defender Department, the Attorney General’s office, the various District Attorney offices, and the trial and the appellate courts.  In December, 2004, Supreme Court Chief Justice Bosson estimated that the cost of a death penalty case was 6 times higher than other murder cases in New Mexico.

The world is watching:

Since 2007, the last time an abolition bill was up for consideration in the NM State Legislature, the following countries have abolished the death penalty – Liberia, Mexico, the Philippines, Albania, Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Chile, Argentina and the Tongo.  This brings the total number of abolitionist countries to 91, with another 33 countries that are abolitionist in practice.  New Mexico wants to join these countries in abolishing the death penalty instead of remaining with the likes of China, Cuba, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Dott. Claudio Giusti

Via Don Minzoni 40, 47100 Forlì, Italia
Tel.  39/0543/401562     39/340/4872522