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Bill Richardson on Crime

Democratic Governor (NM); Secretary of Commerce-Designee

Pushed “Marissa’s Law”--tougher penalties for sex predators

I called a special session of the legislature [after a referendum vote]. A 16-year old girl, Marissa Mathy-Zvaifler, had been killed at a concert in Albuquerque. The man charged with the crime had previously raped a 4-year-old girl, & upon conviction, wa given probation instead of prison. There would be no serious disagreement here, given the public outrage, & there was not. Marissa’s Law, as I insisted it be called, which included much tougher penalties for sexual predators, was passed overwhelmingly.
Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p.320-321 , Nov 3, 2005

Toughened DWI and sex offender laws

We toughened DWI and sex offender laws by passing stronger penalties. DWI is a non-partisan crisis in New Mexico, and the human toll cuts across party lines, ethnicity, economic status - it is devastating, and unacceptable. I propose multiple DWI offenders forfeit their vehicles-let’s take the weapons out of their hands. My DWI package contains stronger penalties for those who drive drunk with children in the car. And there are new, serious penalties for those who provide alcohol to our children.
Source: 2004 State of the State speech to the New Mexico Legislature , Jan 20, 2004

Domestic violence incidents start with drinking

Our problems with alcohol abuse aren’t limited to DWI. Experts report the majority of domestic violence incidents start with, or are exacerbated by drinking. That’s why my proposals incorporate domestic violence into increased training for law enforcement officers, tougher penalties for offenders, and increasing treatment options to deal with the underlying problems. I also want to amend our stalking and harassment laws to prohibit electronic, or “cyber” stalking.
Source: 2004 State of the State speech to the New Mexico Legislature , Jan 20, 2004

Mandatory jail time, especially for repeat offenders

Each time, I have proposed new, tough penalties-including mandatory jail time and treatment-especially for repeat offenders. The core of my philosophy is that we must hold people responsible for their actions. When an individual breaks the law, we need to respond with an appropriate consequence.
Source: Campaign web site,, “Priorities” , Oct 24, 2002

Supports death penalty: zero tolerance for heinous crimes

I am in favor of NM’s death penalty law. It sends a strong message of zero tolerance for heinous crimes, and it provides certain justice for the victim’s families.

At the same time, we must ensure that capital punishment is applied equally, without regard for race or economic status, & we must work to apply DNA testing to make sure only the guilty are executed.

I support the proposal to make the murder of a child under 11 years old an “aggravating circumstance” and eligible for the death penalty.

Source: Campaign web site,, “Priorities” , Oct 24, 2002

Impose “truth in sentencing” for violent criminals

Source: 1996 Congressional National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1996

Voted NO on maintaining right of habeas corpus in Death Penalty Appeals.

Vote on an amendment to delete provisions in the bill that would make it harder for prisoners who have been given the death penalty in state courts to appeal the decision on constitutional grounds in the federal courts ['Habeas Corpus'].
Bill HR 2703 ; vote number 1996-64 on Mar 14, 1996

Voted YES on making federal death penalty appeals harder.

Vote on a bill to make it harder for prisoners who have been given the death penalty in state courts to appeal the decision on constitutional grounds in the federal courts.
Bill HR 729 ; vote number 1995-109 on Feb 8, 1995

Voted NO on replacing death penalty with life imprisonment.

Amendment to replace death penalty crimes in the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill with life imprisonment.
Bill HR 4092 ; vote number 1994-107 on Apr 14, 1994

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Page last updated: Mar 09, 2014