"Legislature misses chance to end death penalty," is the title of Kirk Bloodsworth's Baltimore Sun OpEd. He was the first person who had been sentenced to death exonerated by DNA testing.
I have spent a lot of my life waiting.
I waited for two years to be executed, and I waited in prison for more than eight years — all for a murder I had nothing to do with.
After finally being exonerated in 1993, I had to wait 10 years for the DNA that cleared me to be used to bring the real killer to justice. But the longest wait of all has been my two decades since I left prison, prodding and pushing the Maryland General Assembly to end capital punishment in our state once and for all.
I am disappointed for yet another year as the legislature will soon adjourn for 2012 without a floor vote in either the House of Delegates or Senate on repealing the death penalty.
The lack of action this year is especially frustrating because we are confident that there is majority support for repealing capital punishment in both houses of the legislature. All it would take is a full and fair vote and I believe Maryland's death penalty will end.
This year, the repeal bill had record numbers of co-sponsors: 66 in the House and 19 in the Senate. Although most senators support repealing the death penalty, there are only five votes and not the six-vote majority needed in the Senate committee that considers the legislation. The Senate leadership controls the committee system, which at present thwarts the will of the majority.
His story is told in Bloodsworth: The True Story of One Man's Triumph over Injustice by Tim Junkin.
Earlier coverage of this year's Maryland repeal legislation begins at the link. Following revisions to Maryland's death penalty law in 2009, juries have handed down life sentences in two cases in which prosecutors sought death.