Death penalty only prolongs victims' pain

February 15, 2011

To be meaningful, justice should be swift and sure. The article "Death penalty moratorium leaves survivors, convicts in limbo" (Feb 12) reveals that capital punishment is neither. Rather, the death penalty prolongs the pain of victims' families by dragging them through an agonizing and lengthy process that offers false promises. Life without parole costs less money and offers a swift and final sentence, which brings closure to family members of victims.

The headway Maryland has made to limit the instances in which the death penalty can be applied is a step in the right direction, but eliminating the death penalty is the only sure-fire way to ensure that no innocent person is executed. Both the University of Maryland and the Civiletti commission recognized racial and jurisdictional disparities as an unjust application of capital punishment and call for its abolition.

The death penalty does not help to keep citizens safe. We need to invest in a fair criminal justice system and provide increased services for families of homicide victims. Since 1978, Marylanders have paid $186 million for five executions. Every hour and dollar spent chasing a handful of executions means time and money not spent to investigate and prevent violent crime. Now is the time to end the death penalty in Maryland — for victims' families and for all of us.

Emilee Romano, Baltimore

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