[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----USA, FLA., N. MEX.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Mar 1 16:48:04 CST 2005
Press release -- For immediate release: 1 March 2005
Contact: Ajamu Baraka, tel. 404 588 9761
US Supreme Court decision on child offenders doesn't cleanse death penalty
system, says US Human Rights Network
"While today's US Supreme Court decision outlawing the execution of child
offenders will finally bring the US in line with international law on this
issue and thus should be welcomed, it should be seen as only another step
on the overall road towards the complete abolition of the death penalty in
the US," said Rick Halperin, President of the Texas Coalition to Abolish
the Death Penalty and member of the US Human Rights Network, a grouping of
over 160 US-based human rights organizations.
"The risk is that people may see the Roper vs. Simmons decision as somehow
cleansing the death penalty - by simply removing one of its most offensive
elements. But the truth is that the death penalty system in the US as a
whole remains inherently flawed, brutally racist, and continually prone to
imprison and execute innocent people," said Halperin. "The death penalty
is what it has always been and will always be: a symbolic, practical and
complete failure for this nation to both realistically work towards a
meaningful solution to violent crime and to comply with global human
"While we of course welcome the fact that 78 child offenders will now be
taken off death row, they should never have been there in the first
place," said Ajamu Baraka, Executive Director of the US Human Rights
Network. "Sentencing child offenders to death has been illegal under
international law for almost thirty years and the federal government
should have banned it a long time ago to bring the US in line with
international standards - not wait for the Supreme Court to come to this
long overdue decision."
Halperin cautioned about being too euphoric in the wake of the Roper vs
Simmons decision, noting that Georgia will be carrying out an execution
later this evening. "There are 10 more executions scheduled in this
country in March alone," Halperin said.
For further information please visit www.ushrnetwork.org.
Excerpts of Supreme Court opinions in juvenile death penalty case
Here are excerpts from the Supreme Court opinion outlawing the death
penalty for offenders under 18 when their crimes were committed:
Majority opinion of Justice Anthony Kennedy:
The objective indicia of national consensus here - the rejection of the
juvenile death penalty in the majority of states; the infrequency of its
use even where it remains on the books; and the consistency in the trend
toward abolition of the practice - provide sufficient evidence that today
our society views juveniles, in the words ... used respecting the mentally
retarded, as "categorically less culpable than the average criminal."
3 general differences between juveniles under 18 and adults demonstrate
that juvenile offenders cannot with reliability be classified among the
worst offenders. First, as any parent knows and as the scientific and
sociological studies ... tend to confirm, "a lack of maturity and an
underdeveloped sense of responsibility are found in youth more often than
in adults and are more understandable among the young. These qualities
often result in impetuous and ill-considered actions and decisions." ...
The second area of difference is that juveniles are more vulnerable or
susceptible to negative influences and outside pressures, including peer
pressure. The third broad difference is that the character of a juvenile
is not as well formed as that of an adult. The personality traits of
juveniles are more transitory, less fixed.
Once the diminished culpability of juveniles is recognized, it is evident
that the penological justifications for the death penalty apply to them
with lesser force than to adults.
Drawing the line at 18 years of age is subject, of course, to the
objections always raised against categorical rules. The qualities that
distinguish juveniles from adults do not disappear when an individual
turns 18. By the same token, some under 18 have already attained a level
of maturity some adults will never reach. For the reasons we have
discussed, however a line must be drawn.
Our determination that the death penalty is disproportionate punishment
for offenders under 18 finds confirmation in the stark reality that the
United States is the only country in the world that continues to give
official sanction to the juvenile death penalty. This reality does not
become controlling, for the task of interpreting the Eighth Amendment
remains our responsibility. Yet ... the court has referred to the laws of
other countries and to international authorities as instructive for its
interpretation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of "cruel and unusual
Dissenting opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia:
The court ... claims halfheartedly that a national consensus has emerged
since our decision in Stanford, because 18 states - or 47 percent of
states that permit capital punishment - now have legislation prohibiting
the execution of offenders under 18, and because all of 4 states have
adopted such legislation since Stanford. Words have no meaning if the
views of less than 50 percent of death penalty states can constitute a
That 12 states favor no executions says something about consensus against
the death penalty, but nothing _ absolutely nothing _ about consensus that
offenders under 18 deserve special immunity from such a penalty. In
repealing the death penalty, those 12 states considered none of the
factors that the court puts forth as determinative of the issue before us
today _ lower culpability of the young, inherent recklessness, lack of
capacity for considered judgment.
All the court has done today ... is to look over the heads of the crowd
and pick out its friends. We need not look far to find studies
contradicting the court's conclusions. ... The American Psychological
Association, which claims in this case that scientific evidence shows
persons under 18 lack the ability to take moral responsibility for their
decisions, has previously taken precisely the opposite position before
this very court.
Dissenting opinion by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor:
The fact that juveniles are generally less culpable for their misconduct
than adults does not necessarily mean that a 17-year-old murderer cannot
be sufficiently culpable to merit the death penalty.
An especially depraved juvenile offender may nevertheless be just as
culpable as many adult offenders considered bad enough to deserve the
death penalty. Similarly, the fact that the availability of the death
penalty may be less likely to deter a juvenile from committing a capital
crime does not imply that this threat cannot effectively deter some
17-year-olds from such an act.
The overall number of jurisdictions that currently disallow the execution
of under-18 offenders is the same as the number that forbade the execution
of mentally retarded offenders when Atkins was decided. ... While the
similarities between the two cases are undeniable, the objective evidence
of national consensus is marginally weaker here. ... At least eight states
have current statutes that specifically set 16 or 17 as the minimum age at
which commission of a capital crime can expose the offender to the death
At least at the margins between adolescence and adulthood _ and especially
for 17-year-olds such as respondent _ the relevant differences between
"adults" and "juveniles" appear to be a matter of degree, rather than of
kind. It follows that a legislature may reasonably conclude that at least
some 17-year-olds can act with sufficient moral culpability, and can be
sufficiently deterred by the threat of execution, that capital punishment
may be warranted in an appropriate case. Indeed, this appears to be such a
case. Christopher Simmons' murder of Shirley Crook was premeditated,
wanton and cruel in the extreme. Well before he committed this crime,
Simmons declared that he wanted to kill someone. On several occasions, he
discussed with two friends, ages 15 and 16, his plan to burglarize a house
and to murder the victim by tying the victim up and pushing him from a
bridge. Simmons said they could "get away with it" because they were
(source: Associated Press)
Press Statement For Immediate Release:
Contact: Edward Jackson
March 1, 2005
(202) 544-0200 x302
(202) 251-3894 cell
Amnesty International USA: Decision in Roper v. Simmons Removes US from
List of Nations that Execute Juvenile Offenders
Today Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International
USA, released the following statement regarding the United States Supreme
Court's decision in Roper v. Simmons, which determined that sentencing
juvenile offenders to death is unconstitutional:
Today, the Court repudiated the misguided idea that the United States can
pledge to leave no child behind while simultaneously exiling children to
the death chamber. Now, the US can proudly remove its name from the
embarrassing list of human rights violators that includes China, Iran, and
Pakistan?nations that still execute juvenile offenders. It can take pride
in knowing that it is now in the company of the honorable nations that
abandoned this antiquated practice years ago.
For more information on the death penalty:
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without
exception as it is the ultimate denial of human rights, and we will
continue to demand unconditionally its worldwide abolition.
(source: Amnesty International)
Juvenile Death Penalty Banned by U.S. Supreme Court
A divided U.S. Supreme Court outlawed executions of murderers who were
under 18 at the time of the crime, saying the practice violates the
constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
The justices voted 5-4 in a Missouri case to bar a penalty that had been
legal in 19 states. Today's ruling reversed a 1989 Supreme Court decision
that had allowed executions of 16- and 17- year-old killers.
"Juvenile offenders cannot with reliability be classified among the worst
offenders," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court in Washington.
He pointed to the "stark reality that the United States is the only
country in the world that continues to give official sanction to the
juvenile death penalty."
John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and David H.
Souter joined the majority. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and
Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia
"Judges are ill-equipped to make the type of legislative judgments the
court insists on making here," Scalia wrote for himself, Thomas and
O'Connor had joined the 6-3 majority in 2002, when the court barred
executions of mentally retarded people as inconsistent with the
Constitution's Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In
today's decision she said that, unlike with retarded people, no "national
consensus" exists against executions of juvenile killers.
"I would demand a clearer showing that our society truly has set its face
against this practice before reading the Eighth Amendment categorically to
forbid it," O'Connor wrote.
As of Dec. 31, 2004, 72 people were on death row for crimes they committed
as juveniles, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Of those,
29 were in Texas and 14 were in Alabama. Since 1976, 22 people have been
executed for crimes committed as juveniles, 13 of them in Texas.
In the case before them, the justices threw out the death sentence of
Christopher Simmons, who was 17 in 1993 when he kidnapped a St. Louis-area
woman, bound her and pushed her off a bridge into a river, where she
A medical examiner said Shirley Crook was alive when she was pushed from
the bridge and that drowning was the cause of death.
The Missouri Supreme Court struck down Simmons's death sentence. The state
then appealed to the nation's highest court.
Outside groups, including the European Community, the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops and the American Medical Association, urged the justices
in court briefs to end executions of juvenile offenders. 16 Nobel Peace
Prize winners including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev also supported Simmons.
The case is Roper v. Simmons, 03-633.
Supreme Court Bars Death Penalty for Juvenile Killers
The Supreme Court ruled today, in one of the most closely watched capital
punishment cases in years, that imposing the death penalty on convicted
murderers who were younger than 18 at the time of their crimes is
The 5-to-4 decision, arising from a Missouri case, holds that executing
young killers violates "the evolving standards of decency that mark the
progress of a maturing society," and that American society has come to
regard juveniles as less culpable than adult criminals.
The ruling, which acknowledged "the overwhelming weight of international
opinion against the juvenile death penalty," erases the death sentences
imposed on 72 defendants in 12 states who were juveniles at the time they
killed. Although 19 states nominally permit the execution of juvenile
murderers, only Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma have executed any in the past
The case decided today had attracted attention around the world. Briefs on
behalf of the young Missouri killer, Christopher Simmons, had been filed
by the European Union, the 45-member Council of Europe and other
organizations. A brief filed by former United Nations diplomats asserted
that the United States' failure to repudiate the execution of juveniles
was an irritant in international relations.
Until today, the United States and Somalia were the only nations that
permitted putting teenage criminals to death. The court's ruling today
held that, while the "overwhelming weight of international opinion" was
not controlling, it nevertheless provided "respected and significant
confirmation" for the majority's finding.
The majority decision today, declaring that people who kill at age 16 or
17 cannot be executed, was written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. It
declared that prohibiting the execution of juvenile killers is a natural
and logical conclusion to the court's 6-to-3 ruling in 2002 that executing
mentally retarded offenders is categorically unconstitutional.
< A 1988 Supreme Court decision barred execution of defendants who killed
when they were younger than 16. But the court upheld capital punishment
for 16- and 17-year-olds in a 1989 decision, when the lineup of justices
was different. That decision was swept aside today.
"The age of 18 is the point where society draws the line for many reasons
between childhood and adulthood," Justice Kennedy wrote, in an opinion
joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg
and Stephen G. Breyer. "It is, we conclude, the age at which the line for
death eligibility ought to rest."
The 4 dissenters - Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin
Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Sandra Day O'Connor - bitterly disagreed.
"The court's decision today establishes a categorical rule forbidding the
execution of any offender for any crime committed before his 18th
birthday, no matter how deliberate, wanton, or cruel the offense," Justice
O'Connor wrote. "Neither the objective evidence of contemporary societal
values, nor the court's moral-proportionately analysis, nor the 2 in
tandem suffice to justify this ruling."
While adolescents as a class are "undoubtedly less mature, and therefore
less culpable" than adults, Justice O'Connor wrote, many state
legislatures around the country had concluded that at least some juveniles
were deserving of the ultimate penalty because of the depravity of their
Justice Scalia, in a dissent joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice
Thomas, said the majority opinion had made "a mockery" of constitutional
precedent and was based "on the flimsiest of grounds."
"The court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our nation's moral
standards - and in the course of discharging that awesome responsibility
purports to take guidance from the views of foreign courts and
legislatures," Justice Scalia wrote.
Today's ruling in Roper v. Simmons, No. 03-633, arose from a Missouri
murder that even the majority on the court acknowledged as particularly
heinous. In 1993, Christopher Simmons was a 17-year-old high school junior
when he and two younger teenagers burglarized a house. Even if they were
caught, Christopher Simmons told his friends, they could "get away with
it" because they were minors, Justice Kennedy noted.
By coincidence, a woman inside the house recognized Mr. Simmons from a
previous car crash involving both of them. As the defendant admitted
later, her recognition convinced him to kill the woman, whom he abducted,
bound and threw into a nearby creek to drown. He was arrested after
bragging of the crime, convicted and sentenced to death after a jury
recommended that punishment.
In August 2003, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the death sentence,
deciding by 4 to 3 that subjecting a juvenile killer to execution was
unconstitutionally "cruel and unusual punishment" and resentencing
Christopher Simmons to life in prison without parole.
The state of Missouri appealed (Donald P. Roper is the superintendent of
the prison where Mr. Simmons is lodged), asserting that the state high
court lacked the authority to reject the United States Supreme Court's
1989 finding that capital punishment for 16- and 17-year-olds was
When the case was heard in October, lawyers for the defendant argued that
new medical and psychological understanding of teenagers' immaturity
validated the Missouri court's ruling. The United States Supreme Court
upheld the state court today in overturning its own 1989 opinion.
"When a juvenile commits a heinous crime, the state can exact forfeiture
of some of the most basic liberties," the majority held today, "but the
state cannot extinguish his life and his potential to attain a mature
understanding of his own humanity."
Justice Kennedy played a pivotal role in the ruling today in reversing his
own stance from the 1989 ruling. In that case, Justice Kennedy voted with
Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia, O'Connor and Byron R. White
in permitting the execution of those who committed murder at 16.
In his opinion today, Justice Kennedy wrote, "In concluding that neither
retribution nor deterrence provides adequate justification for imposing
the death penalty on juvenile offenders, we cannot deny or overlook the
brutal crimes too many juvenile offenders have committed."
Even so, he wrote, juveniles by nature of their immaturity and unformed
personalities cannot be included among those offenders who commit "a
narrow category of the most serious crimes" for which the death penalty is
Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said
today's ruling will "bring the U.S. more in line with the human rights
"Juveniles are not the worst of the worst offenders," Mr. Dieter said.
"They may have done terrible crimes, but as individuals they're not as
developed or culpable. They need to be punished, but not with our worst
punishment." The center is a nonprofit organization that studies, and
opposes, capital punishment.
The European Union issued a statement applauding today's ruling. So did
former President Jimmy Carter, who said, "With this ruling, the United
States acknowledges the national trend against juvenile capital punishment
and joins the community of nations, which uniformly renounces this
(source: New York Times)
Supreme Court Strikes Down Death Penalty for Juveniles
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Constitution forbids the
execution of killers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes,
ending a practice used in 19 states.
The 5-4 decision throws out the death sentences of about 70 juvenile
murderers and bars states from seeking to execute minors for future
The executions, the court said, were unconstitutionally cruel.
It was the 2nd major defeat at the high court in 3 years for supporters of
the death penalty. Justices in 2002 banned the execution of the mentally
retarded, also citing the Constitution's Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and
The court had already outlawed executions for those who were 15 and
younger when they committed their crimes.
Tuesday's ruling prevents states from making 16- and 17-year-olds eligible
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, noted that most states
don't allow the execution of juvenile killers and those that do use the
penalty infrequently. The trend, he noted, was to abolish the practice.
"Our society views juveniles ... as categorically less culpable than the
average criminal," Kennedy wrote.
Juvenile offenders have been put to death in recent years in just a few
other countries, including Iran, Pakistan, China and Saudi Arabia. All
those countries have gone on record as opposing capital punishment for
The Supreme Court has permitted states to impose capital punishment since
1976 and more than 3,400 inmates await execution in the 38 states that
allow death sentences.
Justices were called on to draw an age line in death cases after
Missouri's highest court overturned the death sentence given to a
17-year-old Christopher Simmons, who kidnapped a neighbor in Missouri,
hog-tied her and threw her off a bridge. Prosecutors say he planned the
burglary and killing of Shirley Crook in 1993 and bragged that he could
get away with it because of his age.
The 4 most liberal justices had already gone on record in 2002, calling it
"shameful" to execute juvenile killers. Those 4, joined by Kennedy, also
agreed with Tuesday's decision: Justices John Paul Stevens, David H.
Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and
Clarence Thomas, as expected, voted to uphold the executions. They were
joined by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
3 on Florida Death Row Benefit From U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
3 Florida death row inmates who killed as teenagers got a reprieve Tuesday
when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it would be unconstitutional to
execute anyone who murdered before they turned 18.
2 of them, an inmate who killed an auto parts clerk and another who
executed an elderly woman after a rape and robbery, will still spend the
rest of their lives in prison. But the third, who murdered a couple who
were camping, may be eligible for parole in a few years because he was
sentenced under an old state law, a state legislator said.
The nation's high court ruled executing someone for a murder committed as
a juvenile would violate the constitutional ban on cruel punishment. The
5-4 decision stemmed from an appeal in a death case in Missouri, one of 19
states that allowed the execution of juveniles.
In Florida, the state Supreme Court ruled in 1999 that the state
constitution banned the execution of 16-year-olds. But the constitutional
provision was changed in 2002, creating the possibility that murderers
that age could be executed.
For the last several years, state Sen. Victor Crist has sponsored a bill
to ban juvenile executions but the legislation never passed.
Crist, R-Tampa, said he was pleased by the result of the ruling but
thought that the action should have been taken by lawmakers, not judges.
"I'm disappointed that the court had to be the one to act on this," Crist
said. "To me, this is overstepping their authority."
The head of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, a group
opposed to capital punishment, called Tuesday's development a good step
"Now our state will bring its law into line with international law," Abe
Bonowitz said. "We no longer have Iran as a partner in the juvenile death
The 3 death row inmates who will have their sentences reduced to life in
prison are Cleo LeCroy, James Bonifay and Nathan Ramirez.
LeCroy, now 41, was convicted of fatally shooting a newlywed couple from
Miami-Dade who were camping in rural Palm Beach County south of Lake
Okeechobee in January 1981.
The bodies of John and Gail Hardeman were discovered a week after they
failed to return home. Hardeman was killed by shot in the head; Gail
Hardeman had been shot in the head, neck and chest.
Former Gov. Bob Martinez signed a death warrant for LeCroy in May 1990 but
the state Supreme Court granted a stay of execution the following month.
Because the murders were committed in 1981, LeCroy may be eligible for
parole after serving 25 years, Crist said.
Defendants convicted of 1st-degree murder now are sentenced to either
death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. But the options
when LeCroy killed the Hardemans was death or life in prison with parole
eligibility after 25 years.
Crist said he hoped that parole would not be granted to a person who had
killed. "You should not be allowed back in society," he said.
Bonifay, now 31, was condemned for the mistaken identity shooting death of
Billy Wayne Coker in Pensacola in 1991. Bonifay meant to kill Daniel
Wells, a clerk at an auto parts store whom Bonifay's cousin blamed for
getting him fired. But Wells called in sick and was replaced by Billy
Wayne Coker, whom Bonifay shot and killed.
Ramirez, now 27, was condemned for the murder of 71-year-old Mildred
Boroski in March 1995.
Boroski, a widow, was in bed at her Pasco County home hours after her
birthday party when Ramirez, then 17, and an 18-year-old friend broke in,
hoping to steal gifts and money.
They tied her to her bed, killed her dog with a crowbar and looted the
house. Ramirez told detectives the 18-year-old raped Boroski before the
teens put her in her car, drove her to a field, forced her to get out and
walk into the field and lie down.
Ramirez then shot Boroski twice in the head.
Ramirez was sentenced to death in 1996 but the Florida Supreme Court
overturned both the conviction and the sentence. He was tried again in
2003 and convicted and condemned a second time.
(source: Associated Press)
US Supreme Court Juvenile Death Penalty Ruling Saves Florida Lives; Says
Kids are Different; U.S. Joins International Community in Banning Juvenile
1 March 2005 - International Death Penalty Abolition Day
To: State Desk
Contact: Abe Bonowitz, of Director of Floridians for Alternatives to the
Death Penalty (FADP), 800-973-6548, 561-371-5204 cell; or Mark Elliott, of
Amnesty International, 727-215-9646
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP) today welcomed the
U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawing the execution of juvenile offenders,
a ruling that conforms with public opinion at home and international human
rights norms abroad.
"This decision confirms what we all know and what science recently has
proven: kids are different," said FADP Director Abe Bonowitz. "This is a
good day for our country and for Florida, and this decision effectively
spares the lives of 3 Florida death row prisoners who will now have their
sentences reduced to life in prison: Cleo Lecroy, James Bonifay and Nathan
Bonowitz noted that a historically broad coalition of national civil
rights groups, religious denominations, legal organizations and medical
associations had urged the court to strike down the juvenile death
penalty. In addition, polls demonstrate solid public opposition against
the practice. Many of these coalition partners have been active here in
Florida, where bills have been introduced in the current legislature to
raise the minimum age in Florida to 18.
"We applaud the fact that the court recognized the strong consensus
against the juvenile death penalty," Bonowitz said. "This consensus is
further evidence that the U.S. public does not want the death penalty
applied too broadly. It is also quite fitting that this ruling came down
today - March 1st - which is recognized as International Death Penalty
Abolition Day, the anniversary of the date in 1847 when the State of
Michigan became the 1st English Speaking territory in the world to abolish
the death penalty."
As of today, Including Missouri, from which Roper v. Simmons sprang, 31
states ban the execution of juvenile offenders. Of the remaining states,
only 12 have juvenile offenders on death row. They are Alabama, Arizona,
Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina,
Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. To read more about the
juvenile death penalty, please visit http://www.fadp.org/#juvenile
During the past two decades, 22 juvenile offender executions have occurred
in the United States, including 13 in the state of Texas.
9 such executions have occurred since the year 2000. 6 of those 9 took
place in Texas and involved an African American offender.
The other 3 executions took place in Oklahoma and Virginia.
More than 1/2 of the juvenile offenders on death row are housed in 2
states - Alabama and Texas - and about 2/3 are people of color.
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty works for restorative
justice in the form of effective alternatives to the death penalty. It
does so by:
# supporting and coordinating the work of organizations and individuals
# educating and energizing the general public and state legislators
# supporting the many persons affected by capital crime and punishment
# advocating specific legislative improvements
(source: Christian Communication Network)
Death penalty dead in New Mexico?
The New Mexico Senate takes over the death penalty debate Tuesday, one day
after the state House voted to ban it.
House members voted 38 to 31 to kill the death penalty in favor of life in
prison without the possibility of release or parole.
The bill's sponsor Rep. Gail Beam, D-Albuquerque, says it has a good
chance of making it to the governor's desk.
"There are people who support this bill who in principle still believe in
the death penalty," says Beam. "But they also don't believe that it can be
carried out justly in this state or anywhere in this country," she says.
But not all lawmakers agree.
Rep. Jane Powdrell, R-Sandoval, says she thinks eliminating the death
penalty could be a mistake.
"Any jury has the right to convict someone and give them life without the
possibility of parole but if that individual has committed a crime that
deserves the death penalty then I think he or she should get the death
penalty," says Powdrell.
Gov. Bill Richardson is out of state and could not be reached for comment.
In the past, he has supported the death penalty as long as it has
safeguards to protect the innocent from being executed.
(source: KRQE News)
More information about the DeathPenalty