The Baltimore Sun carries two OpEds on capital punishment. "Death penalty unfair, expensive," is by Helen Prejean and Heather Mizeur, a Maryland General Assembly Delegate and cosponsor of repeal legislation.
On the heels of an election that affirmed the Free State's desire for equal opportunities and protections under the law for everyone, we see a path to another victory for fairness and justice. It's time for Maryland to abolish the death penalty.
Maryland is on the cusp of putting an end to this failed experiment in orchestrated killing. Like the coalition that crossed faith, political, racial and economic boundaries to pass the Dream Act and marriage equality, a similarly strong alliance is emerging to end the death penalty and to replace it with a conviction of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
We are an eclectic coalition, called to this work for differing reasons. For some, it is a matter of faith and moral conviction that state-sanctioned killings are wrong. Others fight against this punishment because of the inherent inequalities that exist in our criminal justice system. And still others have evolved in their position because they have come to realize the death penalty is indefensible in practice.
Baltimore County state's attorney Scott Shellenberger writes, "'Worst of the worst' deserve execution."
Legislation is being submitted to abolish the death penalty in Maryland. It is suggested that the death penalty costs too much, achieves little and diminishes us as a society. The push to repeal comes on the heels of a poll showing that Marylanders still support the death penalty.
If the death penalty diminishes us as a society, how can it be that 48 percent of the community wishes to have it remain as a punishment and only 42 percent does not? There is a reason.
The death penalty in Maryland in the last 40 years has been applied in a much different manner than in other states — and even when compared to Maryland's own history. Texas has executed 474, Maryland five. California has 721 on death row, Maryland five. Before 1976, Maryland executed 306, since then five. This rare and selective use of the death penalty reflects the conscience of the community. The ultimate punishment is reserved for those who commit the most heinous crimes.
Earlier coverage from Maryland begins at the link.