Death Penalty in New York and New Mexico

Death Penalty Abolishment

Death penalty refers to legal process of terminating a person’s life as a way of punishment depending on the crimes the person has committed against that law. Some states have up to date held to death penalties whereas some states have actually abolished death penalties. Two states that have abolished capital punishment will be discussed and reasons as to why their courts abolished the punishment discussed.

New York State

New York abolished the death penalty on mid year 2004. This followed from the New York Supreme Court ruling that its death penalty law was unconstitutional. In the ruling referred to as “people V. LaValle” the Supreme Court declared states death penalty as unconstitutional since the statute’s view on the way the jury was to be advised in the event of a deadlock.

LaValle Stephen was believed to have raped and stabbed to death a school trainer. The case had been presented to a lower court and he had been found guilty of first degree murder. LaValle appealed the case to court of appeal which invalidated the death sentence based on jury deadlock situation and courts interpretation of “article 1, section 6” of New York constitution which in this case, contradicted with the courts procedural laws. According to the court in case of a deadlock, a 20 year to life sentence would be administered and to make matters worse the judge would advice the jury on possible sentence on such an occurrence thereby influencing their vote on the case. In this way the death penalty was abolished until necessary corrections were effected (DPIC, 2010).

New Mexico

New Mexico State banned their death penalty in the year 2001. The state had previously used lethal injection in execution of death row criminals. The state through the legislature repealed the death penalty law citing various reasons for their action. The lethal injection was substituted with life imprisonment without the option of parole. There was an opinion that a lot of money was being used to conduct death penalty trials. Some reports also claim that it could even cost more to sustain a death sentence trial as compared to life imprisonment case its is argued that such resources could be channeled towards other activities (Death Row, 2009).

Others questioned the moral integrity of the death penalty citing that it was outright abuse of human rights and an inhuman act. Such victims hardly have time to change their behavior. There was also the possibility of the justice system to treat murder cases depending on either social status or how rich or poor the subject is. Referring to the constitutionality of the capital punishment it was obvious that it was inhuman to treat a fellow human being in such an inhuman way especially considering that such act violates the eighth and fourteenth amendments (Death Row, 2009).

It was agued that there was no enough evidence that correlates death penalty cases to reduction in criminal activities which means that even with the death penalty laws in place there is still no justifiable change in crime rate and hence no need for the death penalties. Others were on the idea that death penalty adds up to revenge an emotion that mankind doesn’t really value especially on serious situations. According to them death penalty amounts to revenge and leaves the avenger in a worse situation instead of advocating for healing forgiveness and reconciliation which would bring peace in the end. After reviewing this and other factors the death penalty was banned (Death Row, 2009).

References

Death Row. (2009). New mexico governor repeals death penalty in state. CNN Justice. Web.

DPIC. (2010). People v. Stephen LaValle. Death Penalty Information Center. Web.