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NEWS
May 28, 2002
GOV. PARRIS N. Glendening halted all Maryland executions this month, saying no one should be put to death before a study he commissioned determines whether racial bias pollutes the capital system. But the governor's not the only person with misgivings. Over the past few years, the courts that hear Maryland death penalty cases on appeal have been weighing in with serious doubts about how fairly this state seeks to take life -- and their concerns go far beyond matters of race. Judges have questioned whether the state has adequately proved death row inmates' guilt.
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NEWS
By Mary Carole McCauley and Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun | May 29, 2010
When 6-year-old Connor Johns visits Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens on Monday, he will be wearing the combat fatigues that his half-brother, Jordan, picked out for him before he was deployed in Afghanistan. "He wears that outfit constantly," said Kandy Poole Johns, the boys' mother. "Connor loved Jordan, looked up to him as his hero and will always remember him as a Marine." Twenty-four-year-old Lance Cpl. Jordan Chrobot of Frederick, who died last Sept. 26 during a firefight in Helmand province, was one of 10 Marylanders killed in Afghanistan since last Memorial Day. The state's 12-month toll is the highest since the United States launched Operation Enduring Freedom in response to the attacks of Sept.
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NEWS
By Justin Fenton and Justin Fenton,Sun reporter | March 4, 2007
Two capital murder cases that were moved to Harford County are moving forward as legislators in Annapolis weigh a statewide repeal of the death penalty. Tomorrow, jury selection begins in the case of Travis Davon Terry, a 24-year-old Baltimore man accused of fatally shooting a longtime friend in a Dundalk apartment building two years ago. A motions hearing is scheduled next month for Kevin G. Johns Jr., a convicted murderer who is accused of strangling a fellow inmate aboard a bus carrying prisoners to Baltimore's Supermax prison in 2005.
NEWS
October 13, 2009
The fundamental question to be asked about the "serious flaws" that a legislative panel reviewing Maryland's death penalty protocols has found in how the state executes condemned inmates is this: Are there substantive ethical and legal problems with the procedure that require further study before executions can proceed, as panel members insist? Or is the finding merely an excuse to extend the de facto moratorium on executions that has existed since 2006, as death penalty supporters argue?
NEWS
By GREGORY KANE | December 3, 2005
So another Maryland death row inmate is scheduled to take the lethal injection needle. And, again, anti-death penalty activists have yanked out their ever-handy race card. Wesley Baker killed Jane Tyson in 1991 on the parking lot of Westview Mall in Catonsville. Not even the presence of Tyson's two grandchildren deterred Baker. He was sentenced to death for the crime, and his death warrant says he should be executed sometime next week. Baker is black. His victim was white. Death penalty opponents point to that to support their claim that Maryland's death penalty is racist.
NEWS
By Michael James and Michael James,SUN STAFF | March 30, 2001
On death row, deep within the brick fortress of Maryland's Supermax prison, Steven H. Oken taps away at a computer he hopes will save his life. "Most everybody in here has learned to use the computer to research the law," says Oken, 39, who in 1987 murdered three women. The killings included the execution-style slaying of a White Marsh newlywed he abducted and raped. "This is all we do, sit here and pick apart our cases. This is our life." Oken and the other 13 inmates on Maryland's death row are in the spotlight as state legislators consider a two-year moratorium on executions.
NEWS
By Mike Stark | April 19, 2002
WASHINGTON - A Maryland judge signed a death warrant March 19 for Wesley Eugene Baker, who was sentenced to die for the 1991 shooting death of Jane Tyson. His case illustrates the racist and arbitrary nature of Maryland's death row. Mr. Baker is a poor black man accused of killing a white woman in affluent, mostly white Baltimore County. The county's method of seeking death first and asking questions later, combined with its overwhelming percentage of white prosecutors, judges and jurors, makes it no surprise that impoverished black defendants such as Mr. Baker end up on death row. In fact, Maryland has one of the highest percentages of blacks on death row in the country.
NEWS
September 25, 2008
In a democracy, there can be no greater miscarriage of justice than the execution of an innocent person. Yet this week, the state of Georgia came frighteningly close to that possibility in the case of Troy A. Davis, a death row inmate awaiting execution for the 1989 killing of a Savannah police officer. His conviction was based almost entirely on the statements of nine purported eyewitnesses, seven of whom later recanted their testimony. Mr. Davis was only hours from execution when the U.S. Supreme Court granted a temporary stay.
NEWS
February 1, 2009
Gov. Martin O'Malley's decision to take the lead on repealing Maryland's death penalty has revived the up-to-now moribund chances of overturning the law. For the first time in years, there's talk that legislation to repeal capital punishment has a shot to emerge from a Senate committee, where it has been stuck because of entrenched opponents. Mr. O'Malley has long opposed the death penalty and spoken out against it. But putting the power of his office and his skills of personal persuasion behind a repeal bill will add considerable heft to the fight.
NEWS
By Jay Apperson and Jay Apperson,Staff Writer | October 15, 1993
Hours after a Baltimore judge cleared the way yesterday for prosecutors to seek the death penalty for the man accused of killing of Franciscan Sister MaryAnn Glinka, the Archdiocese of Baltimore issued a statement opposing the state's pursuit of a death sentence."
NEWS
May 8, 2009
The death penalty law Gov. Martin O'Malley signed Thursday didn't give opponents of capital punishment everything they wanted, but it marked a significant step toward ending executions in Maryland by significantly narrowing the circumstances under which the ultimate punishment can be imposed. Under the new law, prosecutors may seek the death penalty only in cases where there is DNA or biological evidence, a videotape of the crime or a video-recorded confession by the killer. The new limitations make Maryland's death penalty law among the most restrictive in the country.
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Julie Bykowicz,julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com | March 21, 2009
A House of Delegates committee approved the Senate's plan yesterday to restrict capital punishment to cases with specific kinds of evidence, a major step toward added limitations on Maryland's death penalty that could receive final legislative approval as soon as next week. Gov. Martin O'Malley had called on the Senate to abolish the death penalty, and the House appeared poised to follow suit. But the governor urged delegates this week to abandon the repeal in favor of the Senate plan.
NEWS
February 28, 2009
Maryland will be better off without the death penalty ("Senate may debate death penalty repeal," Feb. 26). Repeal would allow Maryland to develop policies that are more effective at preventing crime and helping victims' families. The flaws in capital punishment, which were reflected in the hearings of the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment, have been well researched and well known for decades: * It does not deter crime. * It costs much more than the alternatives. * It drags out the suffering of victims' families rather than bringing them closure.
NEWS
February 1, 2009
Gov. Martin O'Malley's decision to take the lead on repealing Maryland's death penalty has revived the up-to-now moribund chances of overturning the law. For the first time in years, there's talk that legislation to repeal capital punishment has a shot to emerge from a Senate committee, where it has been stuck because of entrenched opponents. Mr. O'Malley has long opposed the death penalty and spoken out against it. But putting the power of his office and his skills of personal persuasion behind a repeal bill will add considerable heft to the fight.
NEWS
By Jennifer McMenamin | November 16, 2008
When the New Jersey legislature voted late last year to repeal the death penalty, it did so on the heels of a near-unanimous recommendation from a state commission that said capital punishment was too costly, too arbitrary and too tough on victims' families to justify the risk of an irreversible mistake. So when Maryland lawmakers created a panel to study the issue, death penalty opponents hoped it would produce a similar recommendation and provide the boost needed to repeal the death penalty law. Last week, they got that recommendation - but on a much closer vote than in New Jersey, where the margin was 12-1.
NEWS
November 14, 2008
Maryland's death penalty law violates the most basic standards of fairness and decency. That's the conclusion of a state commission on capital punishment, and it should prompt citizens to insist that lawmakers bring the issue to a vote when they convene in Annapolis next year. The panel found, among other things, that the death penalty does not deter crime and is arbitrary and capricious, biased against African-Americans and fraught with risk for executing innocent people. During public hearings, the commissioners heard from dozens of witnesses and reviewed a large body of evidence pointing to the inescapable fact that the state's death penalty law is so deeply flawed that no amount of tinkering is likely to bring it into accord with the principals of equal justice.
NEWS
By Stephanie Desmon and Stephanie Desmon,SUN STAFF | March 19, 2003
By the slimmest of margins, members of the Maryland Senate yesterday defeated a bill that would have halted executions in the state to allow further study of racial and geographic disparities in capital punishment. The moratorium failed with 23 senators voting for it and 24 voting against it. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller cast the deciding vote, as he had promised. Two weeks ago, during a procedural vote, Miller sided with the bill's supporters, but he has said since that he would vote against it when it mattered.
NEWS
By Sarah Koenig and Sarah Koenig,SUN STAFF | March 25, 2001
After a long debate that featured shouting and vivid descriptions of murders, the House of Delegates voted yesterday to suspend executions in Maryland for two years. The 82-54 tally represented fairly solid support for the bill, which calls for a halt to executions starting July 1. In the interim, the General Assembly would await and analyze the results of a University of Maryland study on whether the death penalty is being unfairly used against African-Americans, who account for nine of the 13 men on Maryland's death row. "The vote shows that people understand that this bill is about fairness and not about the death penalty," said Jane Henderson of Equal Justice USA, a human rights organization.
NEWS
September 25, 2008
In a democracy, there can be no greater miscarriage of justice than the execution of an innocent person. Yet this week, the state of Georgia came frighteningly close to that possibility in the case of Troy A. Davis, a death row inmate awaiting execution for the 1989 killing of a Savannah police officer. His conviction was based almost entirely on the statements of nine purported eyewitnesses, seven of whom later recanted their testimony. Mr. Davis was only hours from execution when the U.S. Supreme Court granted a temporary stay.
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