Constitutional Law

Maryland lawmakers abolish death penalty


By a 82-56 vote, the Maryland House of Delegates voted Friday to eliminate the state’s death penalty.

The state’s senators approved the abolition of capital punishment last week, by a 27-20 margin. Gov. Martin O’Malley must still sign the bill into law before it is final, but he has been a staunch supporter and lobbied in its favor, reports the Washington Post.

The state is the 18th, and the sixth in six years, to decide that it is time to end the death penalty. Its last execution took place in 2005.

The ultimate punishment has been in place since colonial times and the first recorded execution was in 1638, notes the Baltimore Sun.

Although O’Malley is expected to sign the bill into law, it is still possible that capital punishment could be reinstated by the voters, if a ballot measure is initiated for the 2014 election, the newspaper points out.

Additional coverage:

Atlantic: “Is Martin O’Malley Gambling His Future on Death-Penalty Abolition?”

Bloomberg: “Maryland Death Penalty Ban Advances as More States End Killings”

Reuters: “Maryland House, like Senate, votes to repeal death penalty”

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