by Meagan Dorsch
New Mexico has become the most recent state to abolish its death penalty. This brings the total number of states with the death penalty to 35. New Mexico is the second state to abolish capital punishment since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976; New Jersey did so in December, 2007.
A little more than a year ago, we sat down with NCSL's Sarah Hammond, to discuss the activity surrounding the death penalty at the federal level. While there was a narrowing of the death penalty in recent years at the federal level, the majority of activity this year was seen in the states. Eight states total introduced measures to abolish the death penalty during the 2009 legislative session.
Listen to our podcast (8:49) to learn some of the factors states might be considering when proposing legislation to abolish the death penalty, what happens if a states does change their law on capital punishment and why the federal government has said they have taken some of their leads on this issue from states.