Since the death penalty was reinstated in Maryland in 1978, there have been untold thousands of murders in the state, but only five executions. Five people are currently on death row, and three of those men have been there longer than 20 years. And the stunning revelation? Even though victims of murder in Maryland are people of color more than 70% of the time, the victims in every one of these death penalty cases were white.
Maryland has not had an execution since 2005, and because its execution protocol has been disallowed, there currently is no valid mechanism for carrying out an execution.
The system in Maryland is broken. As Governor O’Malley said in his State of the State speech just a few weeks ago, "...When we realize that something is not working and it is also expensive, we should stop doing it. [...] It is time to repeal the death penalty in Maryland..."
And the good news? After years of hard work by Maryland Citizens Against State Executions, National Coalition staff on the ground in Maryland, and many coalition partners, the end is in sight.
Legislation is moving simultaneously through the Maryland Senate and the House of Delegates. Entitled “Death Penalty Repeal and Appropriation from Savings to Aid Survivors of Homicide Victims” and sponsored by Governor O’Malley, the bill will be signed when it reaches his desk. Maryland will become the sixth state in six years to abandon the death penalty, the 18th state without it, and the first state below the Mason/Dixon Line to legislatively abolish the death penalty. What’s more, Maryland will be taking positive steps toward providing better services and support for the survivors of homicide victims.
Sign the National Coalition’s Open Letter to Maryland Legislators urging the passage of SB 276/HB 295.