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NEWS
June 29, 2010
Anything the state does that's related to the death penalty is bound to arouse the suspicions of partisans on both sides as they try to figure out whether it pushes Maryland's stalled capital punishment system toward revival or extinction. But the surprise move of the state's five death row inmates from the downtown Baltimore facility once known as Supermax to the North Branch Correctional Institute in Cumberland shouldn't arouse condemnation on either side. It simply makes sense. The circumstances give the shift a greater air of drama than it warrants.
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NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | May 1, 2014
Death row inmate Jody Lee Miles asked an appeals court this week to rule that Maryland's death penalty repeal applies to inmates who were already sentenced to die when executions were outlawed last year. Attorneys for Miles, who was convicted in a 1997 murder on the Eastern Shore, said the General Assembly was so thorough in its dismantling of the laws that governed capital punishment in Maryland that the state no longer has the authority to kill anyone. "Mr. Miles cannot be executed and his sentence must be set aside," the attorneys wrote.
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NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | February 9, 2013
At the time of her brother's arrest and trial, Patricia Booth-Townes supported the death penalty — "an eye for an eye," as she put it. Even after her brother was sentenced to die, she says, she didn't waver. She just didn't believe he'd committed that heinous crime, despite the evidence presented in court. But years later, while studying criminal justice at Coppin State University, she found herself researching capital punishment. She almost couldn't avoid it, she said, because her textbook mentioned her brother's case, which set a constitutional precedent for the use of "victim impact statements" in sentencing.
NEWS
April 29, 2014
The continued existence of Maryland's death row a year after the General Assembly abolished capital punishment was brought into question by two events this month, one obvious and one less so. The first is the death, apparently of natural causes, of one of the five inmates put in limbo after the death penalty repeal, John Booth-el. As a result, advocates are renewing their questions about whether it would be appropriate for Maryland to go forward with executions now that the legislature has found the death penalty inappropriate.
NEWS
By Scott Calvert and Kate Smith, The Baltimore Sun | June 25, 2010
The five men on Maryland's death row were quietly moved this week from the hulking Baltimore prison once known as Supermax to a Western Maryland facility hailed recently as one of the most technologically advanced maximum-security prisons in the United States. The transfer to the North Branch Correctional Institution near Cumberland was carried out amid such secrecy that even now state prison officials won't give any details — not even which day the condemned men were moved.
NEWS
Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | January 30, 2013
Moments after Gov. Martin O'Malley urged lawmakers that "it is time to repeal the death penalty in Maryland and replace it with life without parole" during his State of the State speech Wednesday, a Roman Catholic nun famous for her repeal work resumed the effort to secure the votes. Sister Helen Prejean, whose autobiography "Dead Man Walking" detailing her work with death row inmates was made into a movie, planned to meet Wednesday with undecided lawmakers. She said she was pleased that O'Malley had created a simple framework that cast the death penalty as an ineffective tool that isn't worth using.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | May 1, 2014
Death row inmate Jody Lee Miles asked an appeals court this week to rule that Maryland's death penalty repeal applies to inmates who were already sentenced to die when executions were outlawed last year. Attorneys for Miles, who was convicted in a 1997 murder on the Eastern Shore, said the General Assembly was so thorough in its dismantling of the laws that governed capital punishment in Maryland that the state no longer has the authority to kill anyone. "Mr. Miles cannot be executed and his sentence must be set aside," the attorneys wrote.
NEWS
By LISA GLADDEN | December 2, 2005
I am tired of watching African-American men continue to become tangled in Maryland's criminal justice system. I am tired of their treatment and the myriad participants in the criminal justice system who provide "new and improved" cures for social ills. Without improved opportunities created by officials with a commitment to exceptional educational systems for all students, young men are easily lured by the glitz and glamour of a life of crime. Few men with decent jobs commit crimes, and even fewer college graduates wind up in jail.
NEWS
By P.J. Huffstutter and P.J. Huffstutter,LOS ANGELES TIMES | January 24, 2004
The Illinois Supreme Court ruled yesterday that former Gov. George Ryan had the right to commute the sentences of all the states death row inmates before he left office last year. The decision is the latest chapter in the debate over death penalty laws, which exploded in 2000 when Ryan instituted a moratorium on executions. He acted after it became evident that 13 death row inmates had been wrongly convicted. In January 2003, Ryan moved 167 prisoners off Illinois death row, commuting their sentences to life in prison.
FEATURES
By Los Angeles Times | April 5, 1995
One night last month two incidents -- a music award and a killing -- pointed up the relationship between artistry and violence that defines Death Row Records, the nation's hottest producer of "gangsta rap" music:The debut album of Snoop Doggy Dogg, Death Row's charismatic superstar, took top honors at the Soul Train Music Awards. A few hours after the show, a 28-year-old fan was fatally stomped at a party the company threw for its out-of-town retailers and promoters.The slaying was the latest example of how Death Row's meteoric rise has been marked by violence and legal problems involving its key figures.
NEWS
By Jeff Barker and Jonathan Pitts, The Baltimore Sun | April 28, 2014
Convicted double murderer John Booth-El died in prison over the weekend, but a thorny debate outlived him: What should happen to the four other death-row inmates in legal limbo after the repeal of Maryland's capital punishment law? Booth-El's death, which authorities said appeared to be from natural causes, rekindled debate over whether the inmates - all convicted of murder and sentenced years ago - should have their terms commuted to reflect the state's new attitude toward the death penalty.
NEWS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | July 1, 2013
Kirk Bloodsworth celebrated his 20th year of freedom Friday after he was wrongfully convicted of murder in Maryland and sentenced to death. On Saturday, he joined with activists to mark other anniversaries: 41 years since the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted executions and 37 years (come Tuesday) since it allowed them to resume. Dozens who gathered in front of the court Saturday want to see the death penalty permanently abolished. They kicked off a four-day vigil and fast to bring attention to the cause.
NEWS
June 20, 2013
I just read a letter from a reader who is whining about the lack of a death penalty as punishment for the man who allegedly raped and murdered Kami King ("Cecil girl's murder shows error of Md.'s decision to abolish capital punishment," June 17), and I couldn't help thinking about Kirk Bloodsworth, the man who was convicted of a similar crime and who spent years on death row before it finally came out that he was not responsible at all, someone else was. Just think, if the state had carried out their unfair and arbitrary death sentence, an innocent man would have been murdered by our state - and by extension, by all of us citizens of Maryland.
NEWS
By Benjamin Todd Jealous | June 2, 2013
The death penalty debate in Maryland is finally over. This spring's decision by the General Assembly to replace the death penalty with life without parole was cemented last week, when right-wing activists failed to muster enough signatures to force the issue onto the ballot. We, the people of Maryland, have sent a clear and firm message: capital punishment belongs in our past, not our future. In doing so, we have joined New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Illinois and Connecticut as the sixth state in six years and 18th in the nation to abolish the death penalty.
NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr | May 19, 2013
At great political peril, George Ryan did the right thing. Not to canonize the man. After all, the then-governor of Illinois was later imprisoned on corruption charges. But that doesn't change the fact that, in 2000, stung that 13 inmates had been exonerated and freed from death row in the previous 23 years, Mr. Ryan committed an act of profound moral courage, imposing a moratorium on capital punishment. In 2003, in the waning days of his term, he one-upped himself, commuting every death sentence in his state.
NEWS
Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | April 25, 2013
Gov. Martin O'Malley plans to sign a law abolishing capital punishment in Maryland next week, though a referendum effort may be on the horizon. O'Malley's spokesman Raquel Guillory confirmed Thursday that the death penalty repeal law is scheduled to be signed on May 2. Maryland will become the sixth state in as many years to abandon state executions. Five men, all convicted of murders dating back to 1983, are on death row. O'Malley, who pushed for repeal, has said the men's fates will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Maryland has had a de facto moratorium on executions since a 2006 court ruling overturned details in the process for carrying them out. The last execution in Maryland occurred by lethal injection in 2005.  After hours of impassioned debate in the General Assembly earlier this year, lawmakers voted 109-76 for repeal.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau | January 26, 1993
WASHINGTON -- The nation's governors -- and not federal judges -- have the authority to spare the lives of death row inmates who, after their convictions are final, come up with proof that they are innocent, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 yesterday.Condemned state prisoners, it declared, cannot get their cases reopened by a federal judge merely because the inmates have new evidence showing that someone else committed the crime.In practical effect, that means some who are found guilty of murder but who might well be innocent will be executed unless governors grant clemency.
NEWS
By Gregory Kane | August 4, 2001
IS THERE NO African-American miscreant whose misdeeds are so vile and contemptible that he cannot become a cause celebre in black America? Apparently not. The latest such candidate for the Victimhood Sweepstakes African-Americans hold on an annual basis is Napoleon Beazley, a 24-year-old black man on Texas' death row. In 1994, when he was 17, Beazley shot John Luttig to death in an attempted carjacking. There is little question about his guilt. Two co-defendants testified against him. Luttig was killed with a handgun.
NEWS
March 28, 2013
As a strong proponent of abolishing Maryland's death penalty, I was pleased to learn that the General Assembly recently voted to eliminate the practice ("Reason over revenge, at long last," March 17). I oppose the death penalty because it is an inhumane act that serves no purpose and because it has led to wrongly convicted individuals being sentenced to death. I encourage skeptics to read the compelling story of Kirk Bloodsworth, a Marylander on death row who became the first inmate in the nation ever to be exonerated by DNA evidence.
NEWS
March 18, 2013
Having won approval in both chambers of Maryland's General Assembly, a landmark bill to abolish the state's death penalty awaits only Gov. Martin O'Malley's signature before becoming law. It is a tremendous political and moral victory for Mr. O'Malley, a long-time opponent of capital punishment who campaigned for a repeal during his first term only to come up short. That leaves only one major item of unfinished business on his agenda regarding the issue: Commuting the sentences of the five men currently on Maryland's death row to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
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