News Release ~ 02/13/2013

Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Strongly Supports Maryland Effort to Repeal the Death Penalty

Washington, DC (February 13, 2013) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) today submitted testimony to the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates in support of SB276/HB295, legislation to repeal the death penalty in Maryland. Hearings on the legislation are scheduled to take place tomorrow, February 14, in both the state House and Senate.

As NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin explains in his testimony on behalf of the Association, “NACDL has been an outspoken critic of the death penalty system, which countless studies have shown to be arbitrary, discriminatory, costly, and fraught with error. Because we believe that no amount of tinkering will save the death penalty from its inherent flaws, NACDL supports abolition.”

Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the United States, 141 individuals sentenced to death have been exonerated. Among them is Kirk Bloodsworth, a former marine and Maryland death row inmate who in 1993 became the first person in the nation whose death sentence was overturned as a result of DNA evidence, but tragically not before spending nearly a decade in prison.

NACDL is pleased that the State of Maryland appears poised to join the increasing number of states that have abolished the death penalty in recent years. And NACDL will continue to work tirelessly until capital punishment is a thing of the past throughout the nation.

A copy of the complete testimony submitted today by NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin is linked here.

Contact: Ivan J. Dominguez, Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 10,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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