NAACP Calls on New Mexico Governor to Sign the Death Penalty Abolition Bill Today

The Issue:

On Friday, March 13, 2009, the New Mexico state legislature passed a bill repealing the death penalty in that state.  Governor Bill Richardson has until midnight tonight (Wednesday, March 18) to sign the bill into law.  If Governor Richardson does not sign the legislation it will die and the state will continue to execute people.

Governor Richardson has indicated that he wants to hear from the residents of New Mexico and from people from throughout the United States with their thoughts on the proposed death penalty repeal.  Governor Richardson can be reached by phone at (505) 827-3000.  Those wishing to send him an e-mail should go to his website at www.governor.state.nm.us and click on “Contact the Governor”.

THE NAACP STRONGLY URGES EVERYONE IN NEW MEXICO AND THROUGHOUT THE U.S. TO CONTACT GOVERNOR RICHARDSON AND URGE HIM TO REPEAL THE DEATH PENALTY!

From the days of slavery, through years of lynchings and Jim Crow laws, and even today capital punishment has always been deeply affected by race.    Although African Americans make up only 13% of the overall population, 42% of the people currently on death row are black.  African Americans are also over-represented in the number of people on death row who are later found to be innocent:  38% of death row inmates freed since 1973 because of new evidence were African Americans, and 35% of those executed and later found to be innocent were black.

Furthermore, the race of the victim in a death penalty case appears to have an impact:  79% of the murder victims in cases resulting in an execution were white, even though nationally only 50% of murder victims overall were white.  This problematic trend sends the troubling message that in our criminal justice system, white lives are more valuable than those of racial or ethnic minorities. 

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