Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Mexico Joins The Civilized World, Bans Death Penalty

Another step in the right direction, and towards Wisconsin's historic position barring capital punishment.

I have blogged about this, and my views were formed in large measure by a months-long project on the death penalty I completed for the Journal Sentinel in 1995.

The sister of a murdered woman in the Chicago suburbs told me that she urged the judge in the killer's case at sentencing not to impose the death penalty, but to put the murderer in prison for life (and that indeed was the sentence) so that the killer would have to be reminded everyday why it was that he was locked away.

That made a lot of sense to me; that life without parole was in some ways a more harsh punishment than execution.

I studied sentencings and concluded that poor, badly-defended, minority and plain unlucky killers - - and some wrongly-accused defendants - - got the death penalty, while others walked, copped pleas or weren't executed.

And I witnessed one execution in Texas, which firmed up for me that the practice is barbaric and out of place in the modern world.

Most countries ban it; more states are getting rid of it, so cheers for New Mexico.

But don't expect its big state neighbor to the east to follow suit.


No comments: