New Mexico just repealed the death penalty, replacing it with life without parole. Governor Bill Richardson made a big deal out of it, saying that it was “most difficult decision in my political life.” Why was it difficult? New Mexico never uses the death penalty anyway. According to the New York Times, that state has executed only one person since 1960.
Just out of curiosity I decided to check on the number of murders in New Mexico. Maybe they haven't had many, so there just isn't a need for a death penalty. After all, they've only executed one criminal in almost 50 years. If my addition is correct, after checking the statistics, there have been 6,033 murders in New Mexico from 1961 to 2007. Let's see now: over 6,000 murders, 1 execution. Wow, they sure are harsh on murderers there in New Mexico. And people wonder why the death penalty might not be an effective deterrent.
As an aside, the article notes that one of the main supporters of getting rid of the death penalty was the Catholic Church, which "lobbied hard for repeal." It's good to see that the church took time out from attacking child rape victims who have abortions, and discouraging people in AID-infested areas from using condoms, to successfully fight against a penalty that is never even used.