New Mexico Gov. Susanna Martinez is reframing the death penalty debate as the proper response to recent police killings, including an officer killed in her state, the Christian Science Monitor reports. This response to police killings bucks a national trend as many states are backing away from the death penalty, in part due to practical constraints on cost and the drugs used in capital punishment. In New Mexico, the push for its return faces opposition from Democrats, which have the majority in the state legislature. Martinez, a Republican, said the shooting of a police officer in Hatch, N.M., last Friday, as well as several police killings elsewhere in the nation, prove the punishment is needed to deter heinous crimes, said the Albuquerque Journal.
“People need to ask themselves, if the man who ambushed and killed five police officers in Dallas had lived, would he deserve the ultimate penalty,” Martinez said. “How about the heartless violent criminals who killed Officer Jose Chavez in Hatch and left his children without their brave and selfless dad? Do they deserve the ultimate penalty? Absolutely.” New Mexico repealed the death penalty in 2009. This was the first time Martinez brought up the issue since it failed to pass a Democratic legislature in 2011. The new argument goes up against struggles even in conservative states to carry out executions, as one company after another refuses to sell its drugs to states for lethal injections.