Maryland Legislature Passes Death Penalty Repeal!
Washington DC (3/15/13)— “Maryland is the bellwether for the country on the death penalty,” said National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Executive Director, Diann Rust-Tierney. When the bill is signed into law Maryland will become the 6th state in six years to abandon the death penalty.
Maryland would be the first state below the Mason Dixon line to end capital punishment. Like other states that have taken a close look at the practice, lawmakers and citizens in the state have come to the conclusion that the death penalty system is simply unworkable. Chief among the concerns is the risk of executing an innocent person which can never be completely eliminated.
Maryland has tried for over 35 years to get it right. They have studied the problems and recently amended the statute to make it among the most restrictive in the country. But the risks of error and unfairness remained. Lawmakers were wise to conclude that enough is enough – it is time to end the practice.
We commend the governor, the speaker of the House, the president of the Senate, the sponsors of this legislation, and those who supported its passage for this thoughtful process and the careful attention that was paid to this issue.
Maryland is leading the way. We expect that other states will draw important lessons from this process. Some will follow suit, conduct their own inquiries and likely arrive at the same conclusion. Others will determine that the ability to eliminate error, bias and unfairness from capital punishment is simply beyond our grasp. “With the death penalty, we squander precious resources in the false pursuit of a foolproof way of deciding who should live and who should die. These resources could be better used to prevent violence, hold people accountable and care for the survivors of homicide,” stated Rust-Tierney.
We celebrate this progress for the state and the nation, and we call on policymakers and Governor O’Malley to make it a priority to provide additional funding for victims services—in particular funding to support survivors of homicide.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is the nation's oldest organization dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty. We are comprised of an extensive network representing more than 100 state and national affiliate organizations and thousands of advocates and volunteers. Our members include families of murder victims, people across the political and religious spectrum, past and present law enforcement officials and prominent civil and racial justice organizations working to end the death penalty forever.
In January 2014, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty launched the 90 Million Strong Campaign to partner with and mobilize a growing number of national organizations and individuals who believe that it is time for the death penalty to end.