"House votes to repeal death penalty," is by Michael Dresser and Erin Cox for the Baltimore Sun.
The House of Delegates voted Friday to repeal Maryland's death penalty, sending the measure to the governor for his signature.
The 82-56 vote came after an impassioned debate. The legislation cleared the state Senate last week 27-20.
"Today's historic vote is a long time coming," Del. Heather Mizeur told colleagues, saying the death penalty has not been used fairly nor without mistake in Maryland's history. "Who are we to be the judges?" the Montgomery County Democrat asked.
Del. C.T. Wilson, a former prosecutor, took an opposing view. "The death penalty is not a deterrent, it is justice," said Wilson, a Charles County Democrat.
The bill was sponsored by Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, who has pushed for repeal since taking office.
"Let's us to do the things that work to save lives," O'Malley said.
The "House roll call vote on death penalty repeal," of all members' votes has been posted by Associated Press. It's via the Albany Times Union.
The Washington Post reports, "Md. General Assembly repeals death penalty," by John Wagner.
The bill, which passed the Senate last week, now heads to the governor for his signature. O’Malley (D) has lobbied lawmakers for years to end capital punishment, and he put the full weight of his office behind it this session.
The House vote followed more than two hours of impassioned debate, in which repeal supporters argued that any risk of executing an innocent person is unacceptable and that the death penalty has been applied unfairly in the past.
“Human beings cannot devise a system of justice that is perfect,” said Del. Anne Healey (D-Prince George’s). “We are all flawed. ... What I can’t live with is, if we make a mistake, it costs somebody else his life.”
"Md. lawmakers vote to repeal death penalty," is the AP report filed by Michelle Janaye Nealy and Brian Witte.
In 2008, lawmakers created a commission to study capital punishment after repeal efforts failed again. The panel recommended a ban later that year, citing racial and jurisdictional disparities in how the death penalty is applied.
In 2009, lawmakers tightened the law to reduce the chances of an innocent person being sent to death row by restricting capital punishment to murder cases with biological evidence such as DNA, videotaped evidence of a murder or a videotaped confession.
According to the Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services website, Maryland has executed only five inmates since 1976. There were three in the 1990s, and two when Ehrlich was governor.
In contrast, neighboring Virginia has executed 110 inmates since the U.S. Supreme Court restored capital punishment in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. However, Virginia's death row population has dwindled to eight from a peak of 57 in 1995, in part because fewer death sentences are being handed down in the state amid an increased acceptance of life without parole as a reasonable alternative.
The center said death sentences have declined by 75 percent and executions by 60 percent nationally since the 1990s.
Connecticut abolished the death penalty last year. Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York also have outlawed it in recent years.
Earlier coverage of the Maryland repeal legislation begins at the link.