"After death-penalty repeal, O’Malley faces decision on condemned inmates," is by John Wagner for the Washington Post.
With last month’s vote to repeal the death penalty, Maryland lawmakers handed Gov. Martin O’Malley a long-sought legislative victory — and a question that he has refused to answer: What is he going to do about the five prisoners on death row?
The new law won’t apply to them, and O’Malley (D) is facing a fresh push from his allies in the legislative fight to commute the five sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the harshest penalty that will remain on the books.
Since taking office in 2007, O’Malley, a practicing Catholic, has pressed for repeal of capital punishment with as much passion — and apparent disregard for the political risks — as any issue.
In high-profile testimony to the legislature this year, he said the death penalty is at odds with “our values as a people” and argued it wastes resources that could be spent on other crime-fighting strategies.
“There is no way to reverse our ‘mistake’ if we should execute an innocent person,” he said.
His reluctance to use his commutation powers, and perhaps leave the fate of death-row inmates to a successor, has become a mystery in Annapolis, where the General Assembly wraps up its 90-day session Monday.
O’Malley could have commuted the five sentences anytime since taking office. But with passage of the repeal bill, many are wondering, why not go ahead and do that now if abolishing capital punishment is such a priority?
“What should happen is the sentences should be commuted,” said Jane Henderson, executive director of Maryland Citizens Against State Executions. “He has the power to do that, and he should. It would save a lot of time and energy and angst.”
The Staunton News Leader publishes a column, "Why I'm against the death penalty," by Mike Radoui.
By practicing state-sponsored killing, we belong to a notorious fraternity of nations that includes the likes of China, Cuba, North Korea and Iran. Fully 140 nations have long since abolished the death penalty including every developed nation. Do we want to keep company with other advanced democratic nations or with the rogues of the world?The death penalty is on the wrong side of history.
Do we want to continue to follow the sirens song of revenge thereby escalating the cycle of violence or do we want to live and act according to the standards set forth by the family of civilized nations and our heartfelt religious beliefs?
Earlier coverage of the Maryland repeal legislation begins at the link.