Maryland Reviews the Death Penalty
This week, a panel appointed by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley began to investigate the state of the death penalty
in the state. Governor O’Malley, a Democrat, publicly opposes the death penalty, and the newly formed commission will be deciding on whether the practice should continue in Maryland.
In December of 2006, the state’s supreme court ruled in Evans v. State
that executions by lethal injection had not been administered correctly, leading to a hold on carrying out the death penalty until a set of new procedures has been drafted. Only two men have been executed in Maryland since the release of statistics in 2004 that called into question the fairness and consistency of the death penalty. The study, conducted by the University of Maryland
, revealed that the pursuit of the death penalty varied widely between different counties in the state. Graver still was the realization that prosecutors tended to obtain the death penalty more frequently for crimes committed by an African-American against a Caucasian.
Members of the panel included former death row inmates, victims’ families, police officers, and legal professionals. One notable speaker was the brother of Ted Kaczynski
, more commonly known as the “Unabomber,” who described the pain that the death penalty inflicts upon the families of the accused and the executed. The panel will continue to hear testimony and review statistics to reach a decision about the fate of the death penalty in Maryland.