ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The end of the death penalty in Maryland. That’s what some lawmakers and advocates are hoping to accomplish by the end of this legislative session.

Derek Valcourt explains they’ve got some hurdles to clear first.

They made their case to a House committee Tuesday but it’s a Senate committee that could give them the most resistance. 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.

Erricka Bridgeford says justice for the 2007 murder of her brother won’t come by lethal injection.

“It’s not justice to me to have another dead body in place of my brother’s dead body,” Bridgeford said.

She’s one of several advocates calling on lawmakers to repeal Maryland’s death penalty. She’s joined by the NAACP, which points to the outrage over the September execution of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis as proof that attitudes toward the death penalty are changing.

“It’s a known fact that racism exists. We know that our system is not foolproof, so in that sense of the word, we need to move forward at this time not to have another Troy Davis,” said Gerald Stansbury, NAACP.

“It can happen like that,” said Kirk Bloodsworth.

Bloodsworth knows about wrongful convictions; he was released from Maryland’s death row after he was exonerated by DNA.

“I don’t want to see anybody executed,” Bloodsworth said.

“My daughter was murdered in 1998,” said Vicki Schieber.

Schieber argues the lengthy appeals in the death penalty process can be cruel to crime victims.

“It puts them through hell. There’s no better word. They can go on for years and years and years,” Schieber said.

“Just because it takes a long time doesn’t mean it isn’t the right thing to do,” said Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

Shellenberger is among those trying to keep the death penalty which, for now, is suspended in Maryland until a legislative committee approves new lethal injection protocols.

“Prosecutors need that one final ultimate option of seeking death in the most heinous of cases,” said Shellenberger.

In the past, Governor Martin O’Malley has publicly supported repealing the death penalty. A spokesperson in his office said if the 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 (18)
  1. Baltimore correctional officer says:

    The inmates get to enjoy play station, LED tvs, phone, education programs, religous programs, free food, free housing, free clothing, free showers, free medicine, free dental, free psychology, free laundry; all at tax payers expense. The death penalty is both a punishment and a determent for those who chose to take another’s life during a selfless act. Reduce the appeals process and us and expedite the execution process. Just the other week an inmate on work release was shot 4 times in front of a prison complex in the middle of Baltimore. Prison is a joke to a majority of the inmates, they have told me this. They state it is better then surviving on their own. Prison is no longer a punishment, it is now just a housing relocation.

    1. Shannon says:

      Well put!

    2. meeeeeeeeeeeeee says:

      Yerp! You hit the nail on the head there. how do they say… 3 hots and a cot???

    3. Wiseguy says:

      …and who says crime doesnt pay?

    4. Earl says:

      Absolutely, I cannot afford stuff like a gaming system, LED TV, tuition, AC, heat above 55 degrees, new clothes and cable TV. I do my own laundry and pay over $600 a month for my medical insurance and haven’t seen a dentist in years because I can’t afford to and Giant had the nerve to charge me $92 for groceries today… food that I will have to fix myself and then, gasp, wash my own dishes. We only have hot water Wednesdays & Sundays, to save money- the rest of the time the hot water heater is off…. pretty dire straits here. Yes, I can go anywhere I want to (well, not far on $4 a gallon gas LOL) and apparently the state & feds think I can afford to pay taxes too …so that prisoners can live better than I do.

      When I see those horrible fetid prisons in other countries I wonder why ours do not look like that? It’s supposed to be prison, not the free ride Hilton. Make prison horrible, bring back hard labor and save us all money by executing everyone on death row. Face it, you get sentenced to death and you are more likely to die of old age than the lethal injection. Execute them all promptly regardless of race if the court has sentenced them to death. For the death penalty to serve as a deterrant, they have to make it a certain fact and not a joke. Quite honestly, some of them deserve to die in the same manner they killed their victims too.

  2. LiberalSoldier says:

    I have the perfect trade off. I will support ending the death penalty if the advocants will support chopping of a hand if it is proven the person stole something. Casteration if the criminal raped a woman or child, Removing one or both eyes if a person murders another human being. We could cut down on the country club prison stays and may reduce crime when enough thugs are walking around with no hands or eyes.

  3. paul k says:

    I agree with all of the above statements, but for it to be a deterent they have to apply it and so far maryland hasn’t done that for years, and why because of bleeding heart liberals that want to end everything that could stop crime, I am a retired DOC officer and saw the last one done before I left and nothing has changed only gotten worse

  4. KEEP THE D.P. !!! says:

    What death penalty? This thug-hugging liberal state has had only 5 executions in 40 yrs., there are 20-30 yr. waits on death row, and it has been on hault since ’06. Then they say it’s not a deterrent, well under those conditions I guess not. Limit appeals and start enforcing the law! Btw, there are studies and case examples that prove it is a deterrent at least in some cases, and if 20 need to be executed to save one innocent life, it’s worth it. It’s funny how liberals who will raise taxes for everything and anything all of the sudden “care about the taxpayer” when it comes to justice. Now with the DNA mandate in place we should be more confident about the death penalty than ever before. Some families of victims may not want the death penalty for the killer, but what about those who do? Justice demands that the punishment should fit the crime. If the repeal is passed there should be yet another referendum drive. We would all be better off if the legislature only met once a decade.

  5. Far Left Agenda Keeps Going says:

    It’s easy for the liberals to live life from their ivory towers, but there are everyday people who live in the real world and know this move is only going to give killers/potential killers the peace of mind to know that they can literally do whatever without their own lives being at risk. Risk of executing an innocent? Not a good argument anymore with the DNA evidence needed, plus do we not ride in cars anymore because there’s a risk? Hundreds of people a year die from falling out of bed for crying out loud. Don’t these anti-death penalty advocates have a real ‘charity’ they can work for?

    Except from Eastern Shore News as per a Baltimore case: “He said, ‘I ain’t going to death row,’ ” Groncki recalled. “I think that absolutely prohibited him from using that gun on me — he simply didn’t want to go to death row.”

  6. Tony says:

    If you are sentenced to multiple life terms , and never see freedom … death row , why should we pay to keep you from us ///

  7. Joe B. says:

    For any of your comments to have any significance this would have to be a state where the legislature actually cared about the will of the citizenry. We see time after time that this is not the case. Maryland embodies, oddly enough, more a republican form of government than a democracy, where those elected do what they feel is best for the elected rather than what the elected actually want. The price you pay for living in a one party state.

    1. meeeeeeeeeeeeee says:

      You forgot the termite effect where in a horizontal property world, he who can fit more vertically can take up more space… Hence the fact that there are more whackjobs in Baltimore then other citizens outside of Baltimore in MD.

  8. SpecialEd says:

    I will gladly support abolishing the death penalty if we could replace it with something like say forced servitude as the Constiution says we can. Let the convicts give back to the society that they took from. Hey, maybe the prospect of being forced into backbreaking labor without pay for the rest of your life might be a better deterrent than sitting on death row eating popcorn and watching cable tv for 30 years until they are old enough to die from natural causes anyways.

  9. Wiseguy says:

    Just bring back the public executions of the Wild West……..sell tickets,drinks and food……..turn crime into a windfall for the state. Look at all the jobs that can be created from some baltimore thug getting wiped out………..Hey, put in on HBO. LOL

  10. Karla Brown says:

    If we really had a “Death Penalty” it might deter some criminals. As of now, they just get 3 meals a day, some get educated, etc. while we are out here paying $4 for a gallon of gas!

  11. Ronnie Adams says:

    Next they will want to give murders spa treatments…

  12. scott says:

    Baltimore needs Sheriff Joe from Arizona. Pink everything and bologna sandwiches for lunch, and romin noodles for dinner and a cot in a tent. He cut repeat inmates by 70%. Time for Baltimore to do the same.

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