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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.