N.M. Senate shuts down efforts to reinstate death penalty
Thursday afternoon, the New Mexico Senate adjourned after passing a bill to make up for the state’s multimillion-dollar shortfall.
But the State House of Representatives took up the Death Penalty Bill just before 3 a.m.; it was passed around 6 a.m.
The timing has some Democratic lawmakers angry, saying this bill lacked transparency.
The last person to be executed in New Mexico was Terry Clark in 2001.
While appealing his 1986 conviction for kidnapping and raping a 6-year-old Roswell girl, Clark raped and killed a 9-year-old in Artesia, New Mexico.
He was put to death in 2001.
New Mexico abolished the death penalty in 2009, replacing it with life sentences without the possibility of parole for most serious crimes.
Before the Senate adjourned, KFOX14 reached out to Bill McCamley. He, like many other Democratic legislators, took issue with how the bill passed the House.
McCamley said the process to approve the bill lacked transparency.
"When you have a situation like we had where it was ramrodded through at 3, 4, 5 a.m. and no one's paying attention, what does that say about what you're trying to do? If it’s that good, then put it on where everyone can kinda come together and get input and be part of the process,” McCamley said.
Doña Ana County’s District attorney Mark D’Antonio said,
"I'm asking our state and our governor, and I'm asking our legislation, let's slow down, let's do the right thing for the right reasons."
He believes the reinstatement of the death penalty deserves more discussion.
"When you have an issue that is so important to the community as reinstatement of the death penalty, it should be given a lot more consideration than one night of thought," D’Antonio said.
Today, the Legislature did approve a bill to deal with the state’s multi-million dollar budget shortfall.
The measure calls for $172 million in budget cuts from different state agencies.
The bill also calls for collecting money from stalled local construction projects and closing tax-incentive loopholes.
Lawmakers will convene again in January for the next regularly-scheduled legislative session.
At that time, it’s possible the death penalty bill could be taken up again.
The death penalty bill can be taken up again when the state legislature convenes for its regular session beginning in January, or if the governor calls for another special session.