If New Mexico’s Republican governor, Susana Martinez, gets her way, the state will buck national trends against executions and reinstate the death penalty, instead.
In the wake of the shooting death of a police officer in the state, Martinez announced that she will push for the death penalty during New Mexico’s next legislative session:
“In a statement Wednesday, the two-term Republican governor told the [Albuquerque] Journal, ‘A society that fails to adequately protect and defend those who protect all of us is a society that will be undone and unsafe.'”
But if Martinez cares about safety for the rest of New Mexicans, she might do well to put her priorities elsewhere. From the Santa Fe Reporter:
“New Mexico is facing a huge state budget gap and mass emigration and consistently ranks low on national lists for education, child well-being and other issues.”
It’s hard to see the death penalty as an agent of protection or well-being. As PBS reported, death penalty cases are about four times more expensive than cases that don’t seek death, executions have become more difficult to carry out since the European Union banned the export of lethal injection drugs, and there are serious questions about fairness and racial disparities in the system.
Is that really how New Mexicans want to see their taxpayer dollars and efforts spent? Gallup polls show a steady decline in national support for the death penalty (though a majority still supported it as of last year). In 2008, 64 percent of state residents supported replacing the death penalty with a life sentence without parole and restitution to victims’ families.
Watch a local news report on the issue from KRQE below, via YouTube.
Featured image from YouTube video.