After four months of study, the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment has called on the state to abolish the death penalty. In a 13-to-7 vote, the Governor-appointed commission concluded that capital punishment carries the “real possibility” of executing innocent people and is far too costly, with each death penalty case costing about $1.9 million more than a similar case in which the prosecution seeks a sentence of life imprisonment.
The commission also found that the death penalty harms survivors of homicide victims, is racially, geographically and economically biased, and does not deter crime.
The group includes prosecutors, lawmakers, clergy, law enforcement officials, a former death row inmate, and family members of murder victims. The repeal recommendation will be contained in a 110-page report presented to Governor Martin O’Malley, who opposes capital punishment.
Let’s all hope that the Maryland General Assembly does the smart thing and votes to rid the state of capital punishment.