“You can release an innocent man from prison, but you can’t release him from the grave.”
-Freddie Lee Pitts, Florida death row survivor.
On Friday March 15, 2013, the state of Maryland moved one step closer to abolishing the death penalty. The House of Delegates – by a margin of 82 to 56 – voted to repeal the death penalty in Maryland. Governor O’Malley, who has made the legislation one of his top priorities, is expected to sign the bill into law. The Maryland Senate passed the bill last week.
Last month NACDL submitted testimony to the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates in favor of the repeal. NACDL now applauds Maryland, which is set to become the 18th state to abolish the death penalty.
NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin said: “NACDL has been an outspoken critic of the death penalty system, which countless studies have shown to be arbitrary, discriminatory, and fraught with error. Because we believe that no amount of tinkering will save the death penalty from its inherent flaws, NACDL supports abolition. To witness yet another state legislature recognize these realities is extremely gratifying.”
A copy of the complete testimony submitted by NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin is available here
NACDL opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and supports reforms to ensure that innocent persons are not executed. Purely retributive in nature — countless studies show that it does not deter crime — the death penalty is unjust, uncivilized, and inconsistent with the fallibility of our justice system. Since reinstatement of the death penalty in 1973, more than 1,040 people have been executed in the United States. During the same time, more than 120 people sentenced to death have been exonerated. Many others have had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment because of serious doubts about their guilt. And some have been tragically executed despite serious questions concerning their innocence.
Because we believe that no amount of tinkering will rescue the death penalty from its inherent flaws, NACDL supports legislation to abolish the death penalty. In addition, NACDL supports individual state efforts to halt and study the death penalty as well as federal legislation to institute a moratorium. NACDL's Board Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on and Abolition of the Death Penalty.
In addtion, NACDL's January 2012 National Advocacy Call on Developing Legislation featuring a discussion on death penalty moratorium reform efforts around the country. The call featured Jeremy Schroeder National Strategy Counsel with the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty who discussed death penalty reform efforts around the country. For more information on the National Advocacy Calls on Developing Legislation please click here.
SAVE THE DATE!
NACDL's 15th Annual Making the Case for Life Seminar will be held at the Harrah's Hotel and Casino, August 21-24, 2013
To learn more, click here.