Digging Up The Death Penalty

June 11th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

By Tracy Dingmann

Thank God for Leslie Linthicum’s smart-ass UpFront column in yesterday’s Journal about the overheated “debate” currently raging over the death penalty. (Read the June 10th piece “Deathly Debate in Governor Race” here.)

As far as I can tell, the “debate” is being engineered – with the complicity of the Journal – pretty much singlehandedly by Theresa Romero, the mother of convicted cop-killer Michael Astorga.

Because I must confess I couldn’t quite figure out why the Journal plastered three mugshots – of Diane Denish, Susana Martinez…and Romero – across the front of the June 8 paper to accompany the story, “Dueling Over Death Penalty.”

Denish and Martinez, of course, are running for governor. But Astorga’s mom? Why should we care what she thinks about the governor’s race?

As Linthicum tartly puts it:

Romero’s political credentials are nil, but her record of raising homicidal children is impeccable. With the Astorga verdict, three of her sons have now been convicted of murder.

Linthicum’s view aside, apparently someone at the Journal thinks it’s newsworthy that Romero wants to vote for Diane Denish – because Romero (erroneously) thinks that Denish (if elected as governor) would commute an (as yet to be decided) death sentence for her son into a term of life in prison.

Got that?

You had to read the whole tortured story to find out that IF elected governor, Denish would have no intention of doing any such thing.

“As I stated before, it would be my sworn responsibility to enforce the sentence, and that’s what I would do,” she told the paper.

So I guess I think it’s absurd that the death penalty is being thrown around again now – and Linthicum apparently does too.

As she notes:

A little more than a year ago, New Mexico went through a legislative process that culminated in a decision to repeal the state’s law that authorized death as a punishment for certain murders.

Lots of people had their say, the House and Senate voted, the governor signed the bill, it took effect last July and that was that.

Until the perfect June storm that brought us a guilty verdict in a cop-killer case while the governor’s seat is up for grabs.

Let’s face it, folks – we changed the law, and that law change includes a cutoff date. It’s pretty simple. People who kill somebody after July 1, 2009 cannot get the death penalty. People who kill somebody before that date still can. Whoever is elected governor will enforce the law according to that.

As Linthicum puts it:

Maybe it’s time to cool off, peel open a Popsicle and review some facts.

Maybe she needs to tell that to whoever at the Journal thinks this is an issue worthy of being manipulated by a murderer’s confused mom.

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