Kirk Bloodsworth spent nine years in prison, including two years on death row, after he was wrongly convicted of the 1984 killing of a 9-year-old girl. He was scheduled to speak Tuesday at Goucher College in Towson at an event sponsored by Maryland Citizens Against State Executions.
"I just want to tell people what it was like for me and how easy it can happen," Bloodsworth said Monday in a telephone interview. "If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody."
I can't really think of an easier decision for Governor elect O'Malley than to re-establish the moratorium on the death penalty in Maryland. Glendening set the precedent, effectively stopping the death penalty from being carried out in Maryland. This move however, was not one aimed at attacking the morality of the death penalty itself (an argument that I personally think holds some water), but instead that was based on a University of Maryland study of the way the death penalty was applied in Maryland. For a slightly dated, but in depth look at the study, go here.
But will O'Malley do it? Things look good, in my opinion. O'Malley has come out against the death penalty personally:
O'Malley, who is Catholic, has said he personally opposes capital punishment, but spokesmen for his campaign have said he will enforce the laws of the state, including the application of the death penalty. Calls Monday to O'Malley's staff for further comment were not immediately returned.
When O'Malley signed on in 2000 to a newspaper advertisement taken out by former Mayor Kurt Schmoke and the late lawmaker Howard Rawlings asking for a moratorium, he talked about the issue.
"I am not in favor of the death penalty. I don't think as people in a civilized society we can support capital punishment. You don't promote respect for life by making us participate in the death penalty," he said at the time.
Of course, Governor elect O'Malley's personal views on the issue should not really be involved here. Unless a new study comes out refuting the findings at Maryland, as a Democrat I feel like O'Malley's hands are tied. He must re-establish the moratorium on the death penalty if he is truly interested in reversing the damage done to our state by the Ehrlich/Steele administration.
If somehow, O'Malley still needs a kick in the pants, the assembly is ready to deliver it:
Maryland lawmakers have regularly submitted measures to repeal the death penalty law. Democratic Delegate Maggie McIntosh of Baltimore, who has supported a repeal, said she expected it would be introduced again. "I'm sure I'll be a co-sponsor," she said.
Lets hope someone delivers on this issue. Re-establishing the moratorium would be a positive, if not symbolic, way of reforming the ailing criminal justice system in Maryland.