That's the title of an editorial published in the New York Times on Saturday.
Maryland’s governor, Martin O’Malley, chose Jan. 15, the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., to announce his determination to repeal the state’s law allowing capital punishment. “Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence,” he said, quoting Dr. King.
The death penalty does not deter murders, the governor said, since states with the penalty have had higher murder rates than states without it. And prosecuting a capital case in Maryland costs three times as much as pursuing a homicide conviction that carries a sentence of life without parole. In short, the penalty has been a huge waste of taxpayer money on a policy that manifestly does not work. Significantly, he said, the state has gathered sobering proof that its use of the death penalty has been so unfair — so arbitrary and capricious — as to be unjust and immoral.
The Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment reported in 2008 that the “administration of the death penalty clearly shows racial bias” and that the chances of a state prosecutor’s “seeking and imposing a death sentence differs alarmingly across jurisdictions in Maryland, even when the cases are similar.”
In addition, the reversal rate in Maryland death penalty cases has been stunningly high; it was 80 percent for the years 1995 to 2007, the commission reported. Prosecutors have withheld potentially exculpatory evidence. Judges have made decisions that were unfair to defendants. The police have forced involuntary confessions.
As Governor O’Malley said: “We know what does not work. And we know that the way forward is always found through greater respect for the human dignity of all.”
The Baltimore Sun reports, "Death penalty repeal gains 4 co-sponsors over 2012," by Michael Dresser.
The Maryland Senate moved a little closer to a majority willing to vote for full repeal of the death penalty Friday as 21 senators -- four more than last year -- agreed to co-sponsor the legislation in that chamber.
This year the bill also has the full-fledged support of Gov. Martin O'Malley, improving its chances of prevailing and moving over to the House of Delegates.
Twenty-four votes are needed to pass a bill in the Senate. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has said he believes there is a majority in favor of repeal in his chamber and that he can round up the 29 votes to stop a filibuster. Though he opposes repeal, Miller has said he will bring the bill to the floor this year if the votes are there.
Earlier coverage from Maryland begins at the link.