In March, New Mexico abolished the death penalty, replacing it with a sentence of life without parole. Lawmakers were influenced by a fiscal report prepared by the Legislative Finance Committee citing research by the Public Defender Department. The research indicated the state would save millions of dollars each year in prosecution costs for capital cases. New Mexico has executed one person since 1960, and two men remain on death row. The new law will not affect their sentences.
New Mexico is the second state to abolish capital punishment since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. New Jersey did so in December 2007. Fifteen states now do not have a death penalty.
The death penalty is being debated in...