Proposed Bills Address Death Penalty

Meanwhile, Texas' death machine churns stronger than ever

The New Mexico Legislature on March 13 voted to abolish the death penalty, replacing it with a life-without-parole sentence. The measure now goes to Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson. Rich-ardson has said in the past he does not support repealing the death option, but in a statement Friday, he said he would now consider doing so: "I have met with many people and will continue to consider all sides of the issue before making a decision."

But the Texas death machine continues on. On March 11, the state executed its 12th inmate this year, Luis Salazar, condemned for the murder of Martha Sanchez in San Antonio. Four more executions are already scheduled through June 2. The pace puts the state on track to far surpass the 2008 total of 18 inmates put to death.

On March 19, lawmakers are slated to hear several death-penalty-related bills in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Subcom­mit­tee on Capital Punishment (8am in the state Capitol, room E2.016), including a proposed constitutional amendment (House Joint Resolution 24) by Austin Dem Rep. Elliott Naishtat that would give the governor the power to impose a moratorium on executions, and a proposal to create a commission to study the use of the death penalty in Texas (House Bill 877). Another measure scheduled for hearing – HB 2267 by Rep. Terri Hodge, D-Dallas – would repeal the so-called law of parties, whereby a defendant can be sent to death for the actions of a co-defendant.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

death pentalty, death penalty, Terri Hodge, Elliott Naishtat, Legislature, 81st Legislature, HB 2267, HB 877, HJR 24

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