"I would like to see us repeal the death penalty," - Governor O'Malley

Now it is just up to the Maryland legislature to pass one of the repeal bills. I must say, I am very proud of the Governor for taking this stand. I believe that it says something about his philosophy of justice, that it is focused on saving lives and improving communities, not on revenge and retaliation.

Some on the other side of the debate share a different philosophy.
Michael Paranzino, executive director of Throw Away the Key, which supports capital punishment, said a debate on the death penalty is needed.
"It's better to debate this in the open," he said. "We will be educating the lawmakers about the victims of murder. While I think that it's a difficult task, I don't think it's impossible."
Throw Away the Key's website deals almost exclusively with child predators. They make a solid argument for the reform of how we deal with child predators that I am inclined to agree with. They are wrong however, on the necessity death penalty. We need look no further than the case of Kirk Bloodsworth:
Mr. Bloodsworth was convicted twice of killing a 9-year-old girl in 1984. He was placed on death row following his first trial. Mr. Bloodsworth was convicted again in a second trial, but received a life sentence instead of capital punishment. He was exonerated by DNA evidence in 1993.
While Mr. Bloodsworth sat in jail facing death, the real offender was roaming the streets free to harm more innocent people. It was neither a deterrent for other criminals nor a panacea for the family. Justice was certainly not done, and thankfully Mr. Bloodsworth lived to tell about it.

Throw away the key laments the quick release of child predators and violent offenders from our prisons. However, they never address the real cause of this problem, overcrowded prisons due to the drug war. Instead they would rather focus on easy, headline grabbing issues such as the death penalty. It is a shame, because they could be a strong advocate for changing our justice system so it can begin locking up real criminals again.

So, will the repeal bills pass? O'Malley is skeptical:
O'Malley said he would lobby for the repeal bills, although he did not include such a measure in the legislative agenda he released this week. "There are good people who have strong feelings on both sides of that issue," he said.

Still, he expressed skepticism that a majority of the House of Delegates or the Senate will support the bills.

"I'm not overly optimistic that they will, but there's a lot of new members, and perhaps given the problems, what went on in Florida, given all of the other issues having to do with the way that it's applied, maybe there is the will to do it," the governor said. Executions in Florida were halted last month amid concerns over the way lethal injections were administered.
I hope the Maryland Legislature does the right thing and gets one of these bill passed.
You can contact them and tell them how you feel.

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