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Maryland poised to become 18th state to end capital punishment

March 15, 2013|By Michael Muskal
  • Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has been vocal in his support of repealing his state's death penalty.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has been vocal in his support of repealing… (Patrick Semansky / Associated…)

Maryland is moving closer to becoming the 18th state to end executions, with the House of Delegates expected to pass a bill which has already passed the Senate.

Last week, the Senate passed a bill that replaces the death penalty with life in prison without parole. That passage was considered a tougher fight than approval by the House, where a vote could come Friday.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, who tried to end capital punishment in 2009, has pledged to sign the bill into law.

Capital punishment has been an increasingly questioned in recent years on a variety of grounds. More effective technology, such as DNA testing, has led to the exoneration of persons convicted of capital crimes.

There are also questions in the application of the punishment with people of color more often being sentenced to death than whites in some jurisdictions.

Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, and New Jersey have repealed the death penalty since 2007, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Five men are on Maryland's Death Row. Maryland's last execution was in 2005.

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