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Republican Lawmaker Proposes Death Penalty for Child Sex Crime Cases

A Republican lawmaker in New Mexico has introduced a bill that would require an automatic death penalty for individuals convicted of specific child sex crimes. State Rep. Stefani Lord introduced HB 109, aiming to strengthen existing laws to protect children from sexual predators. The inspiration behind the bill stemmed from the release of documents related to a lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell, the late Jeffrey Epstein’s former accomplice, which included the names of prominent individuals.

Addressing Concerns on Soft on Crime Bills

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Rep. Stefani Lord expressed concerns about legislation perceived as “soft on crime” and the reluctance to exempt pedophiles and rapists. Her bill seeks to address these concerns by imposing the death penalty on those convicted of certain child sex crimes.

Florida’s Influence

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Lord referenced Florida’s law, implemented in the previous year, which extended capital punishment to individuals who sexually abuse children. She sees this as a precedent worth following.

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Scope of the Proposed Bill

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If passed, HB 109 would enforce an automatic death sentence for those convicted of a first-degree felony related to aggravated criminal sexual penetration of a child, criminal penetration of a child, and human sexual trafficking against a victim under 18 years old.

Expanding Age Criteria

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The bill proposes an expansion of the definition of “criminal sexual penetration of a child in the first degree” to encompass all children under the age of 18, replacing the current age of 13.

Zero Tolerance for Child Abuse

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Rep. Stefani Lord emphasized the gravity of the proposed law by stating that there would be no life imprisonment option; individuals who [explicit] a child under 18 would face the death penalty.

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Relevance to New Mexico

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The legislation is particularly significant for New Mexico due to allegations of sexual abuse against Epstein, some of which are believed to have occurred on his ranch, known as the “Zorro Ranch,” situated in a rural area south of Santa Fe and east of Albuquerque.

Former Gov. Bill Richardson’s Mention

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The late-former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat, was named in the recent set of Epstein-related documents, accused of sex trafficking in a 2016 deposition. Lord highlighted that such allegations could lead to the death penalty if her bill becomes law.

Political Landscape

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Regarding the bill’s chances in the Democrat-controlled state legislature, Lord expressed hope that her Republican colleagues would support it. However, she acknowledged skepticism about Democratic support but stressed the urgency of addressing sex trafficking and protecting children.

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Bipartisan Approach

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Lord mentioned her willingness to hand over the bill to a Democrat if it led to its passage, emphasizing the need to combat leniency towards pedophiles and child rapists.

Drawing a Line in the Sand

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The legislator concluded by saying, “We have to draw the line. We have to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough. If you do this, you’re going to get the death penalty.”

Protecting Children

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Rep. Stefani Lord’s proposed legislation aims to prioritize the protection of children and provide stringent consequences for those convicted of heinous child sex crimes in New Mexico.

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