ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The end of the death penalty in Maryland. That’s what some lawmakers are hoping to accomplish as the General Assembly prepares to return to work in Annapolis in a matter of hours.

Derek Valcourt explains how they hope to accomplish that.

Bills to abolish the death penalty have failed in years past, but supporters say they are one vote shy of getting out of a Senate committee to the full floor, where they say they have enough votes in both chambers to pass it.

By the time the state of Georgia executed death row inmate Troy Davis in September for the 1989 killing of an off-duty police officer, seven of the original nine witnesses in the case recanted their testimony. NAACP President Benjamin Jealous says the international outrage that followed Davis’ execution has gone a long way in changing attitudes.

“People in this country care about fairness. They are outraged about what happened to Troy Davis. They want to see our country join the rest of the western world and abolish the death penalty. In order to get there, Maryland has to do it,” Jealous said.

Also speaking out against the death penalty is Kirk Bloodsworth, a former Maryland death row inmate released after he was exonerated by DNA.

“Do away with the death penalty because the simple truth is, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone in this state,” Bloodsworth said.

Advocates argue the death penalty is cruel to crime victims because appeals drag on for too long and executions rarely happen.

“So what we have in Maryland at this point is the death penalty, not actually as a punishment tool but a political tool,” said Glenn Ivey, former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney.

“We have been watering down and killing the death penalty in this state for 20 years,” said Delegate Pat McDonough.

Republican Pat McDonough is a vocal supporter of capital punishment, which is already suspended in Maryland until a legislative committee approves new lethal injection protocols. He says in many cases, life without parole isn’t good enough.

“We are taking care of the murderers but we are not showing sympathy for the victims,” he said.

In the past, Governor Martin O’Malley has publicly supported repealing the death penalty. A spokesperson in his office said if a bill comes to his desk, he will consider signing it.

New Jersey, New Mexico and Illinois have all abolished the death penalty in recent years. NAACP says they are also pushing efforts to ban the death penalty in Connecticut and California this year.

Comments (14)
  1. eduardo says:

    Why not, it’s always the blacks that cause the murders.

  2. Speaking the truth says:

    When 85% of the murders in maryland are comitted by the black population, its no wonder the NAACP wants the death penalty abolished. Now if it was any other race comitting these murders you wouldn’t hear a word from them about it. Sorry but I personally think the NAACP is one of the most racial groups out there. At times it seems like the hurt the black population more then help them, by the way they go about things. If anything the death penalty needs to be enforced more, then maybe people would stop killing people as much. Right now if you kill someone, there is a chance that you could be out of jail in less then 15 years. And after spending 15 years in prison most people come out harden and end up comitting worse crimes and going back. Time to take the gloves off of the cops and let them do thier jobs the way they should be able too. And then make the judges do thier jobs by enforcing the laws to the max. Expand the death penilty to also cover rapist and child molesters, there is no place in society for either one of these 2 groups. If after all that if crime didn’t improve, then only god can help us.

    1. Don Lloyd says:

      I be leave in death penalty. For example the elderly woman murdered in East Baltimore. The person that committed that crimes should be put to death.

      1. deltasweetiepi says:

        Absolutely Right

  3. Speaketh The Truth says:

    Maryland really needs to evaluate how laws are created. Politicians listen to all the “Rights” and “Religious” groups. Abolishing the death penalty will send out the wrong message to murderers. THe sad fact is 1 in 3 of these crimes are committed in or near the city limits. OF the crimes committed, most are committed by blacks. Not many should be able to say that it’s a racial thing; Blacks do kill other blacks. Nothing stereotypical, nothing racial. Cities have their quirks, their downsides. Death in the Cities is one of them. What the legislature ought to lean more on is how to stop the crimes. Pump more money into youth programs, add more of the crime cameras and enforce curfews. The police are always criticized for what they do and blamed when something goes wrong. They are powerless because laws have become so laxed. Bring back the police of yesteryear: crack the bad guys in the heads and either send them home or take them to jail. Until the police can do their jobs, nothing will get any better — taking the death penalty away is just one more step backwards/

    1. deltasweetiepi says:

      Amen. I concur! Prisoners have rights and the victims have none. Prisoners eat better, cable, libraries, gyms, cellphones and so much more when the average single parent cannot even afford gas to go to work…”What is wrong with that picture?”

  4. Sheila says:

    The NAACP has spoken and Maryland politicians are shaking in their boots. The death penalty is, and always, will be debated. I do not have the answers to this problem, but politicians will certainly look at PC before making a move on this issue. Innocent people will be wrongly convicted ,from time to time, this we all know. If the proof is there, DNA, etc., enforce the death penalty. I still have nightmares about the animal that threw a baby in a car seat off the Key Bridge, he should be put to death.

  5. MJH says:

    It will be a sad day when the laws of this state mean nothing to the thugs that run most inner city nieghborhoods. The death penalty should be put back in place and used more often. The NAACP is a joke. The group has never stood up for any of the black nieghborhood dealing with the thug gangs. They only come out of their shells to squalk about things that only get head line news. When is the last time this group marched thru East or West Baltimore protestiing the behavor of the thugs that plague those nieghborhoods. They are just another over paid lobbist group. Like a Twinkie all stufed with tasteless bloat.

  6. deltasweetiepi says:

    A bunch of BS I am tired of paying for murderers, rapists, and pedophiles with my TAX DOLLARS. The state of maryland waste good money with appeals for most who deserve the death penalty. Their families should be made to pay for their prison stay and not ME. I make no apologies if it sounds cold and cruel..but I am sick of the bleeding hearts who come from wealthy families who want to save a criminal who really just wants another opportunity to kill, rape, maim, etc. I say we cook what is on the books and then decide.

  7. Robert Long says:

    why not just let all the killers free and let them do what ever they want. thats what its coming to.. why waste time.. just kill all the innocent people off in the world and gave it to the bad people. thats the way its heading so just finish it up already…

  8. letstellthetruth says:

    Of course lets get rid of the death penalty so that they are free to kill whenever and who ever they want hell most of them still do as they please anyway I would love to see one solid no loop hole law made and stuck to simple as this if you kill someone for anything other then in self defense of you or a family member then the death penalty should stand strong I bet if that were the case 80% or more of these needless homicides and murders would stop I am not trying to sound mean but really enough is enough

  9. jim says:

    Who wants to pay for this trash for 30 + years ?? I DON’T !!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Diane King says:

    I agree with these comments. Violent murdering criminals just need to be eliminated and I wish they would be quicker about it because keeping these criminals alive is just a waste of resources since most of them will never change.

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