Ministers representing diverse faiths, including Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians and Muslims, convened in Annapolis on Wednesday to urge lawmakers to repeal the state's death penalty law.
"The death penalty should not be legal in Maryland because capital punishment has been shown not to be a deterrent," said Rabbi Seth Bernstein, president of the Howard County Board of Rabbis, during a news conference.
"In states where capital punishment is legal, murder rates are persistently higher than the murder rates of other states in our union where the death penalty is illegal," Bernstein added.
The group of clergy insisted that capital punishment has been marred by racial discrimination, arguing that minority defendants are more likely than other populations to be sentenced to death.
Faith leaders also raised the issue of mistaken executions, saying that there is no guarantee that innocent people won't be executed for crimes they did not commit.
Maryland's last execution was under former Gov. Bob Ehrlich in 2005, when Wesley Eugene Baker was put to death for the 1991 murder of a woman at a Baltimore County shopping center.
Since 1976, Maryland has executed five people. Five men remain on death row.
Earlier coverage from Maryland begins at the link.