Maryland Death Penalty Repeal Pass First (And Biggest) Test

February 21, 2013

Amnesty members and others protest the death penalty in Maryland
Amnesty member Stanford Fraser rallies supporters of death penalty repeal in Annapolis with Jane Henderson of MD CASE.

Death penalty abolition in Maryland is on the move!

Maryland’s Senate Judicial Proceeds Committee has voted 6-5 in favor of SB 276, the bill that repeals the death penalty. (Sadly, a provision that would have allocated some funds saved from abandoning capital punishment to support victims’ families was stripped from the bill.)

Passing repeal through this committee was a major hurdle, and one that had proved insurmountable in previous years. But a critical mass of support for abolishing capital punishment has been reached, both across the state and inside Annapolis, and the bill is now headed to the Senate floor.

SB276 could get its first Senate floor debate as early as Saturday, and it is likely that the full Maryland Senate will vote on death penalty repeal this coming week.

The vote will be close, and the debate will be contentious, presumably with many amendments offered. Those of you in Maryland should take action now to let your legislators know that passing death penalty repeal – without amendments – is very important to you.

Those of you living outside of Maryland can also take action, letting Governor O’Malley know that his efforts so far are appreciated, but that we expect him to keep pushing until the bill to repeal the death penalty is on his desk with his signature on it.

This post is also available in Spanish.