With Death Penalty Stalled, Maryland May Again Consider Abolition

When Maryland’s legislature again convenes in January, it is likely to consider a bill to repeal the death penalty. Governor Martin O’Malley (pictured) has sponsored such legislation in the past and may do so again. O’Malley has called the death penalty “inherently unjust” and said resources spent on capital punishment could be better used elsewhere. Maryland has not carried out an execution or had a new death sentence since 2005. Executions are currently on hold because the state’s lethal injection procedures are unsettled. A number of states have switched to a one-drug method, but that would require legislative changes in Maryland’s death penalty law. It is not clear that there are sufficient votes for such a change. Regardless of the governor’s actions, a repeal bill will be put before the legislature. Jane Henderson, executive director of Maryland Citizens Against State Executions, said, “I think there’s a lot of momentum for [repeal]. If it’s going to happen while O’Malley’s still governor, this will be the year to do it.”

(J. Wagner, “As O’Malley eyes repeal, Md. death row remains at ‘impasse’,” Washington Post, November 24, 2012). See Recent Legislative Activity and Maryland.