“The system is inherently defective”

Statement by Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico on signing into law an Act repealing the death penalty and substituting life imprisonment without parole for capital offenses:

“Regardless of my personal opinion about the death penalty, I do not have confidence in the criminal justice system as it currently operates to be the final arbiter when it comes to who lives and who dies for their crime. If the State is going to undertake this awesome responsibility, the system to impose this ultimate penalty must be perfect and can never be wrong. But the reality is the system is not perfect — far from it. The system is inherently defective. DNA testing has proved that. Innocent people have been put on death row all across the country. Even with advances in DNA and other forensic evidence technologies, we can’t be 100-per cent sure that only the truly guilty are convicted of capital crimes. Evidence, including DNA evidence, can be manipulated. Prosecutors can still abuse their powers. We cannot ensure competent defense counsel for all defendants”

Bill Richardson, a former advocate of capital punishment, was later interviewed at length by Rachel Maddow, and you can see the interview here. New Mexico is the first state to repeal the death penalty since New Jersey in 2007.

These are great days..

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