Maryland legislature decides no death penalty, no exceptions

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March 14, 2013

Maryland

By: Josh Altic

Annapolis, Maryland: The only thing that could keep the death penalty alive in Maryland is a "no vote" by the Maryland House. But, according to reports, the House will likely agree with the Senate, which voted 27-20 against capital punishment last week.[1][2]

Yesterday strong debate was stirred up in the House of Delegates over eighteen proposed amendments to Governor Martin O'Malley's bill, which would remove capital punishment from Maryland. Some Republican delegates proposed exceptions for terrorists, cop killers and child killers. Others suggested that the death penalty remain for mass murderers and school shooters.

Delegate C.T. Wilson sponsored the first amendment, which would have allowed capital punishment for those murderers who repeat their crimes after already being convicted and sentenced for murder. Wilson argued for this exception to the ban on capital punishment saying, “Some people are vicious. They’re inhumane. They’ll do things we could never imagine, and they’ll do it again and again.”

In his request for a mass murderer exception, Delegate Patrick McDonough appealed to the humanity of his fellow delegates, saying, “What would happen if 30 innocent children were killed in our state? Vote as a human being and a person on this issue.”

In defense of his own bill, O'Malley stated that “You can come up with a never-ending parade of horrible crimes ... but the fact remains that the death penalty is ineffective."

One of the legislature's strong supporters of O'Malley's bill, Samuel Rosenberg, lead the opposition to any amendments of the death penalty ban bill. He argued that granting any exceptions would prevent the bill from fixing the underlying problems caused by the death penalty, such as the possibility of executing an innocent person.

None of the proposed amendments gained more than 44% of the vote and the bill passed on unchanged to a full House vote.[1]

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