By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Could this be the year of repeal? Governor Martin O’Malley sets the stage for another history-making legislative session. He expects lawmakers to repeal the death penalty in Maryland.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains why this could be the year.

Senate President Mike Miller says he believes the votes are there to pass a repeal on the Senate floor and he’ll make sure the committee doesn’t hold it up.

Former death row inmates shared the experience of beating death.

“I was inches away from the gas chamber,” said Kurt Bloodsworth.

“It took from 1973 to 1981 for me to prove my innocence,” said one man.

“We had police officers with 25 and 30 years of experience and two juries and they all got it wrong,” said Bloodsworth.

Tuesday, after years of debate and failure to pass a Senate committee by one vote, it appears there are the votes on the floor of the Senate to repeal the death penalty.

“If they’ve got 24 votes, you know, this is a democracy. This business of one person holding up a bill because he or she doesn’t like it is nonsense,” said Miller.

“The death penalty is expensive and it does not work and for that reason alone, I believe we should stop doing it,” said O’Malley.

Baltimore County Senator James Brochin–who is on the Judicial Proceedings Committee–says he will not change his vote.

“My vote will be no,” Brochin said.

But the governor, who told the NAACP that he would only consider calling for repeal if the votes to pass it are there, is apparently assured of passage.

“All of us have to ask ourselves is it worth wasting taxpayer dollars on a policy that does not work and perhaps there’s another: who do we, as a people, aspire to be?” O’Malley said.

Supporters of the death penalty, including Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger, will be mounting their own campaign against the repeal.

“I do believe the opposition is very strong and I will be there to lead that opposition,” Shellenberger said.

Supporters of the death penalty will be mounting their own campaign against the repeal.

The national office of the NAACP is leading the campaign to repeal the death penalty in Maryland.


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