Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Death Penalty an Issue in Maryland Governor's Race

Former Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., said that he plans to make the death penalty an issue in the race for governor, accusing current Governor Martin O'Malley of "shenanigans" to avoid carrying out the death penalty.

"This is the kind of thing that makes people cynical about the criminal justice system," said Ehrlich, who presided over the state's last execution, in 2005. "Governor O'Malley took an oath to uphold the law. He's certainly violating the spirit of it."

Governor O'Malley has tried unsuccessfully to push the legislature to abolish the death penalty. According to the Washington Post, during Ehrlich's last full month in office in 2006, Maryland's highest court ruled that the state's death penalty procedures had not been properly adopted, halting executions until new regulations were issued by the administration.

O'Malley, the former mayor of Baltimore, focused instead on lobbying the legislature to repeal the death penalty. In high-profile testimony shortly after he took office in 2007, the governor, a Catholic, argued that capital punishment is "inherently unjust," does not serve as a deterrent to murder and consumes resources that could be better used preventing crime, according to the Post.

The debate in Maryland, one of 35 states with a death penalty statute, comes as capital punishment continues to draw attention across the country. Executions nationwide increased by nearly 40-percent in 2009 and a 2007 Gallup Poll showed that 69-percent of Americans support the death penalty.

To read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/07/AR2010050703068.html?hpid=newswell&sid=ST2010050703469

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