In the wake of Bill Richardson signing the bill to abolish New Mexico’s death penalty comes a study from attorney Marcia Wilson published in the New Mexico Law Review, “The Application of the Death Penalty in New Mexico, July 1979 through December 2007: An Empirical Analysis.” Thanks to the Death Penalty Info Center for the link.
Some interesting numbers that show that, though Governor Richardon’s stroke of the pen was unquestionably a moral victory, the simple fact was that New Mexico wasn’t a particularly death-happy state like, say, Texas or Virginia:
Since 1979, in New Mexico:
- 211 death penalty cases filed
- 203 were resolved by the end of 2007
- 9 cases were dismissed before trial
- 47.8% of the resolved cases ended with a plea bargain and a sentence less than death
- 46.9% of the resolved cases went to trial
- 25% of the resolved cases had a penalty trial
- 15 people were sentened to death
- 2 defendants remained on death row still challenging their death sentence
- 1 defendant was executed (after dropping his appeals).