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N.M. Governor Signs Bill Repealing Death Penalty

Posted Mar 19, 2009 6:08 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has changed his earlier stance and signed a bill repealing the death penalty in the state.

Richardson called his change of heart the “most difficult decision in my political life,” the Associated Press reports.

“Faced with the reality that our system for imposing the death penalty can never be perfect, my conscience compels me to replace the death penalty with a solution that keeps society safe,” Richardson said at a news conference. The New Mexico Independent also covered his comments.

“The sad truth is the wrong person can still be convicted in this day and age, and in cases where that conviction carries the ultimate sanction, we must have ultimate confidence--I would say certitude--that the system is without flaw or prejudice.”

Richardson has supported the death penalty for years and apparently still does in some cases, according to the Independent. He indicated some doubts about his decision to sign the repeal.

“I believe it’s the right decision,” he said. “My conscience feels good, but I am still troubled.”

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