We have repeal items from three states today, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Maryland.
In Kentucky, AP reports, "Death Penalty Opponents Ask Governor for Support." It's via WBKO-TV.
Activists have delivered more than 1,500 postcards to Gov. Steve Beshear asking that he sign no more death warrants and that he work to abolish the death penalty.
Kaye Gallagher, coordinator of the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, delivered the postcards from across the state to Beshear's office late Monday.
Each of the cards said three decades of experience shows the death penalty is "a risky, arbitrary, unfair, ineffective and costly distraction from justice."
Kentucky has executed three people since the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1976, two by lethal injection and one in the electric chair.
Columnist Susan Campell writes, "Connecticut should not stop part-way on abolishing the death penalty," in the Register Citizen of Litchfield County.
Here in the Land of Steady Habits, change comes one toe in the water at a time. First, we had marriage lite, or civil unions, and when the sky didn’t fall, we went all in for marriage equality.
Similarly, when the state decided to abolish capital punishment — as legislators did in April — they did so, but only partly. The death penalty was abolished for future cases, but it is still an option for 11 men waiting on death row. Some of those men are in court claiming the death penalty is applied capriciously, and prejudicially.
They remain under the threat of lethal injection in part because of the lobbying efforts of Dr. William Petit, the lone survivor of a 2007 home invasion that took the lives of a mother and her two daughters, and left the doctor for dead.
He didn’t die, and he’s taken his grief and started a family foundation that aims to do good. He’s also lobbied hard to retain the death penalty, so that the two men tried and convicted for the destruction of his family will — eventually, perhaps — die at the hand of the state.
I do not question Dr. Petit’s grief or his motivation.
I do not believe, however, that a grieving husband and father should set public policy. The state appeared poised to abolish capital punishment in 2011, until Dr. Petit made an impassioned plea that convinced even the likes of the now-retired Sen. Edith Prague — who’d originally been poised to vote to repeal — to back away and leave the death penalty in place.
"Why Martin O'Malley Needs to Lead Maryland to Death Penalty Abolition," is Brian Evans' Huffington Post essay. He's with Amnesty International.
Opposing the death penalty is not the political third rail it used to be (or at least was considered to be). It has become a mainstream choice. Especially now, and especially in a state like Maryland, with its tiny death row and no death sentences since 2004.
For Maryland's political leadership, choosing to repeal its moribund capital punishment law shouldn't be a hard vote. The public prefers life without parole. Governor Martin O'Malley has been not only an admitted but an avowed abolitionist since he assumed office in 2007, and he was re-elected in 2010 by double digits. This past year he demonstrated his state's readiness for groundbreaking lawmaking with passage of both marriage equality and the DREAM Act. In fact, death penalty abolition is less groundbreaking than either of these, as four states have legislatively abolished the death penalty since O'Malley has been Maryland's Governor.
Sadly, his state is not one of them.
He can and should rectify this in 2013.