To the editor:
I am disappointed that the state Senate failed to pass a bill to abolish the death penalty. Instead, they sent such a bill back to the Judiciary Committee for further study over the summer. Of the 36 states with the death penalty, New Mexico has repealed theirs and others are considering similar action.
State Sen. Marci Francisco pointed out that the death penalty has not been a deterrent to crime and that some have received the death penalty because of inadequate defense counsel.
Anna Quindlen, columnist for Newsweek (June 26, 2006), calls the death penalty “a failed experiment.” She states that four countries account for nearly all the executions in the world (China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United States). Since 1976, more than a thousand men and women have been executed in the U.S., but during the same period, more than 123 death row inmates have been exonerated.
It’s not true that murderers cannot be rehabilitated. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb shocked the nation in 1925 when they killed 14-year-old Bobby Franks for thrills. Sentenced to life imprisonment, Leopold studied to become a doctor, became a guinea pig in tests of new drugs for use against malaria, learned 27 languages and became an authority in several sciences, including ornithology and mathematics. In 1958, after 33 years in prison, he became a free man. He spent the rest of his life in Puerto Rico, dying in 1971.
During the summer, I hope our state committees can resolve the problems of repealing our death penalty, an expensive “failed experiment.”