Maryland Repeals the Death PenaltyBy
Gov. Martin O’Malley signed legislation today making Maryland the 18th state to eliminate capital punishment. It was a significant victory for O’Malley, who has been trying to get a repeal bill through the state legislature for six years.
“Evidence shows that the death penalty is not a deterrent,” O’Malley said in a statement. “It cannot be administered without racial bias, and it costs three times as much as life in prison without parole. Furthermore, there is no way to reverse a mistake if an innocent person is put to death.”
Today’s signing took place in a ceremony witnessed by death-penalty opponents, including Kirk Bloodworth, the first person in the U.S. freed from death row by DNA evidence. Supporters of capital punishment could attempt to overturn the legislation by forcing a referendum.
Maryland’s last execution was in 2005. The five condemned inmates currently on death row are not affected by today’s repeal; O’Malley has said he will consider possible commutation of their sentences on a case-by-case basis.