Wednesday, January 11, 2012

NAACP President calls for end of death penalty

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous has called for the end of the death penalty in Maryland and around the country, reported the Washington Post.

Maryland’s death penalty has been on hold since a 2006 Court of Appeals ruling found the state’s lethal injection protocols were not properly approved by the legislature. New execution protocols must be approved before executions can resume in Maryland. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, a death penalty opponent, pushed for repeal of the death penalty but later compromised and settled for tighter restrictions on biological evidence such as DNA, videotaped evidence of a murder or a videotaped confession, reported the Post.

“People in this country care about fairness,” Jealous said at a news conference in Annapolis with other civil rights leaders and state lawmakers opposed to capital punishment. “They’re outraged about what happened to Troy Davis. They want to see our country join the rest of the western world and abolish the death penalty. In order to get there, Maryland has to do it.”

“We’ve abolished it in Illinois in recent years; we’ve abolished it in New Jersey in recent years; we’ve abolished it in New Mexico in recent years, and there is no reason why it has not been abolished here, except for a few politicians who have gotten in the way,” according to Jealous as reported in the Post.

Some Maryland lawmakers will seek a repeal in the legislative session that begins Wednesday. They say they have a majority of support in both the House and Senate, but they say they are one vote shy on a Senate committee to move the bill to a full vote.

According to the Post, Maryland has five men on death row, and five inmates have been executed since Maryland reinstated the death penalty in 1978. Wesley Baker was the last person to be executed in Maryland, in December 2005.

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