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Maryland Next to Repeal Death Penalty?

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January 25, 2008

Approximately one month ago, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine abolished the death penalty in his state. Attention has now turned to Governor Martin O’Malley, whose public opposition to the death penalty makes Maryland the next possible state to replace execution with life in prison without possibility of parole. Susan Goering, Executive Director of the ACLU of Maryland, coauthored an op-ed calling on Gov. O’Malley to call for a repeal of the death penalty:

As the governor once testified, avoiding the high cost of the machinery of death would mean nearly $22 million for 500 additional police officers, protective equipment that saves officers’ lives, or drug treatment for 10,000 of our addicted neighbors. Unlike the death penalty, these are investments that can actually spare more potential victims of violent crime.

Also last week, the Dublin-based Sunday Business Post interviewed our own John Holdridge, Director of the ACLU’s Capital Punishment Project. His interview with reporter Andrew Lynch, which discussed the recent momentum of the anti-death penalty movement, spoke to an unfamiliar audience: one that hasn’t seen an execution since 1954:

“Over in Europe, it’s like a done deal,” the soft-spoken, quietly authoritative lawyer says. “”Almost everyone here accepts that it’s a barbaric practice and should be consigned to history. In my country, we still have a long way to go – but we’re winning the argument.”

Ireland outlawed executions in 1990, and a constitutional ban on the death penalty was signed into law in 2002.