The Maryland Senate is scheduled to convene at 8:00pm (EST) tonight; 7:00 pm (CST.) The Maryland General Assembly homepage has a link for streaming media of the Senate session.
MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes program posts, "The left’s austerity strategy for the death penalty," by Kailani Koenig-Muenster.
In an age when trimming budgets and reducing deficits has become politically popular, some liberals are brewing a new strategy on old issues. Democrats and left-leaning groups are increasingly trying to use austerity arguments to pass their progressive agendas.
Maryland’s Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley has long sought to have the death penalty abolished in his state. As a Roman Catholic, he has used a moral argument against the death penalty in the past. But now he is emphasizing the financial benefits of making the maximum sentence a life in prison without parole.
Rather than funnel all of their focus into moral and social arguments, the bill’s supporters have been making their point partly in economic terms. The cost of prosecuting a death row case in Maryland can be as much as three times what it costs for a case seeking a life sentence without parole.
A study by the Urban Institute in 2008 found that the average cost to taxpayers for one death sentence was $3 million, about $1.9 million more than it cost for a case when the death penalty wasn’t sought. These numbers include the criminal investigation, trial costs, appeals, and incarceration. A New York Times graphic explains the stark contrast in savings from the study.
Earlier coverage from Maryland begins with a recap of Friday's Senate floor debate, at the link.