Why We Eliminated the Death Penalty in Maryland

Posted on September 1, 2013

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seal marylandA Message from Governor Martin O’Malley

State of Maryland, Office of the Governor

Thank you for contacting me regarding your support of repealing the death penalty in the State of Maryland.  As you may be aware, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 276 – Death Penalty Repeal – Substitution of Life without the Possibility of Parole (Chapter 156 of the Acts of the General Assembly of 2013), and I signed it into law on May 2, 2013.  This bill repealed the death penalty statute and makes life without the possibility of parole the harshest sentence available in the State of Maryland.

In 2008, the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment, led by former United States Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti, found that the administration of the death penalty clearly showed racial bias and that no administrative fixes could end the racial disparities.  In addition, it reported that the cost to taxpayers of pursuing a capital case is three times as much as the costs of pursuing a non-death penalty homicide conviction.  Lastly, the Commission determined that the risk of executing an innocent person was extremely high and that the statistics did not prove that the death penalty was a deterrent.  The death penalty did not make us stronger or more secure as a people. Nor did the death penalty make our laws more effective or more just. Capital punishment was expensive, and it did not work.

Your feedback and opinions are important to me I benefit greatly from your thoughts. Working together, we will continue to protect our shared priorities of expanding opportunity for more Marylanders rather than fewer, strengthening and growing our middle class and small businesses, securing public safety, and improving the health of our environment.

Sincerely,

Governor O’Malley