Friday, November 14, 2008
state commission reviewing capital punishment recommended last night an end to executions in Maryland, prompting hope among death penalty opponents that the General Assembly could soon abolish the 30-year practice.
The Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment voted 13-7 to make the recommendation. It found that the death penalty carries the "real possibility" of executing innocent people and may be biased against blacks.
The final report of the 23-member commission is expected to provide additional ammunition to Gov. Martin O'Malley and other death penalty opponents in their uphill fight to stop state executions. Previous repeal efforts have narrowly failed despite high-profile campaigns by O'Malley, a Roman Catholic and ardent opponent of capital punishment.
An O'Malley spokesman said last night that the Democratic governor looks forward to reading the final report, which is due next month. The governor has lobbied for a death-penalty repeal and vowed to sign it if the legislature passes it. [Mark Godsey]