Capital punishment in New Mexico

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Capital punishment was abolished on the U.S. State of New Mexico in 2009. The law replaced the death penalty for the most serious crimes with life imprisonment and life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. This makes New Mexico the fifteenth state in the U.S. to abolish capital punishment.

Since the death penalty was reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976 (in the case of Gregg v. Georgia), only one person has been executed in New Mexico. This was Terry Clark, who was put to death in 2001, by lethal injection, for the murder of a child. The penalty was abolished by House Bill 2085,[1] which was signed by Governor Bill Richardson on 18 March 2009 and came into force on 1 July of that year. Section 6 of the law states that "The provisions of this act apply to crimes committed on or after July 1, 2009".

Two Persons Still on Death Row[edit]

Because this legislation is not retrospective, it is still possible for convicts to be executed for crimes committed before July 1, 2009.[2] There are two men on death row in New Mexico whose crimes and trials took place before 2009, Robert Ray Fry and Timothy Allen.[3] Only one death penalty trial has taken place since 2009 for crimes that were committed beforehand, that of Michael Astorga, and because the jurors in that case were unable to agree on a death sentence, he received life imprisonment.[4]

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