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Death Penalty

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By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | February 28, 2012
More than three dozen legal scholars and attorneys — including former Gov. Harry R. Hughes and two former Maryland attorneys general, J. Joseph Curran Jr. and Stephen H. Sachs — are sending a letter and report to members of the General Assembly urging the repeal of the state's death penalty. "There's a lot of misconception about Maryland's law" among legislators and the general public, said Jane Henderson, executive director of Maryland Citizens Against State Executions, which organized the lobbying effort.
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NEWS
March 14, 2013
Since the the death penalty has not been carried out in Maryland since 2005 and is not anticipated to be used again, the debate over whether it should be abolished is almost academic ("House committee approves death penalty repeal" Mar. 8). However there is at least one compelling reason to retain it. If an individual now pleads guilty in a plea bargain to murder to avoid the death penalty, winding up with accepting life in prison without parole, serves justice. However without the death penalty, when the prisoner would plead guilty, instead of agreeing to life without parole, he or she will demand a lesser sentence and even for the most heinous crimes will be eligible one day for release.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and The Baltimore Sun | March 15, 2013
The House of Delegates will cast a final vote today on Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed bill repealing the death penalty in Maryland. A series of test votes Wednesday night indicated the measure is almost certain to pass. House approval will send the bill to the governor for his signature. The Senate voted 27-20 for repeal last week. If the repeal is approved, Maryland would become the 18th state in the nation to abolish capital punishment. mdresser@baltsun.com
NEWS
January 22, 2013
Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger's commentary in favor of the death penalty demands a clarifying response ("'Time to abolish the death penalty in Md.?" Jan. 18). Mr. Shellenberger begins by cherry-picking polling results that show Marylanders are closely divided over repealing the death penalty, with neither side achieving a clear majority. However, poll after poll over the last several years has shown that as many as two-thirds of Marylanders are strongly supportive of the idea that a sentence of life without parole is an acceptable substitute for the death penalty.
NEWS
March 6, 2010
A registered sex offender accused of killing an 11-year-old Salisbury girl last year received notice Friday of prosecutors' intention to seek the death penalty. James Leggs Jr. was reindicted Friday on charges of first-degree murder, two counts of sexual offense and kidnapping in the death of Sarah Haley Foxwell, whose body was found Christmas Day in a wooded area in Delmar. Leggs, 30, was served Friday afternoon at the Wicomico County Detention Center with notice of prosecutors' intent to seek both the death penalty and life without possibility of parole.
NEWS
January 15, 2012
Your article on the trial of two men charged with killing a correctional officer caught my eye because the case could result in the first death sentence in Maryland since the state changed its death penalty law in 2006 ("Trial opens in prison officer's killing," Jan. 12). A 2003 study found that a defendant is six times more likely to receive the death penalty when the victim is white. Since the victim in this case, Officer David McGuinn, was African-American, it seems statistically unlikely this case will result in the death penalty.
NEWS
December 10, 2012
Everyone obviously has an impassioned opinion regarding the death penalty ("Next up: Death penalty," Dec. 3). I have myself wavered in my stance regarding this issue. Is there any benefit to society to repeal the law? If the state retains capital punishment, does it act as a deterrent for people on the street? Does the criminal even think about the consequences before he pulls the trigger and snuffs out the life of another? A writer to The Sun made some significant points regarding abolishing the death penalty ("Time to repeal Maryland death penalty," Dec. 5)
NEWS
By Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | May 31, 2013
Activists who worked to repeal the death penalty anxiously awaited news Friday that their efforts would not be overturned by a successful petition drive.  "It sounds like they're going to announce that they don't have the signatures," said Jane Henderson, executive director of Maryland Citizens Against State Executions. "We're happy with that scenario. Democracy's already been served. ... I'm excitedly waiting to see if, come midnight, I'm out of a job. "  Despite a flurry of last-minute signature-gathering, proponents of capital punishment may abandon their efforts to put the death penalty to a referendum vote in 2014.
NEWS
March 23, 2013
Outside observers must wonder what goes on in our state legislature. On one hand, the majority restricts citizens' ability to defend themselves against multiple armed assailants, thus implying the executive branch's competence to protect us. On the other hand, the same majority eliminates capital punishment, thus implying the incompetence of the judicial branch to arrive at accurate verdicts. Perhaps now victims of multiple armed assailants can mount a class action lawsuit against the legislators who voted to give the advantage in firepower to criminals.
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