On Friday, March 15th, the House of Delegates passed a bill (HB 295) that would repeal the death penalty for future crimes in the state of Maryland. The bill was previously passed in the Senate (SB 276) on March 6th. It is no surprise to hear Governor Martin O’Malley confirm that he will sign the bill when it comes to his desk. He has been vocal against the death penalty since taking office in 2007. The Governor pledges that this is a step in the right direction and one that will allow his office to “focus on doing the things that actually work to reduce violent crime.”
To those in favor of the repeal, the death penalty was seen as too costly, racially biased and ineffective as a deterrent from crime. Local activist and community organizer with Maryland Offshore Wind Coalition, Reverend Meredith Moise, sees the passing of the bill as a sign of social and judicial progress. Those who oppose the repeal argue that taking away the possibility of the death penalty as punishment is a step backward. Trae Lewis, former president of the Baltimore Area Young Republicans, argues that the death penalty can be an “effective tool” for the prosecution when bringing a case against the charged individual.
“The anchor that should hang over their head is that they might not have the privilege to live [on] this good earth amongst good people.” – Trae Lewis
“The actual deterrent for crime in part is jobs. Let’s bring opportunities back so people don’t feel like they have to go down that path.” – Rev. Meredith Moise