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Voices of Survivors: WATCH THE VIDEO

Governor O'Malley has made good on his 2013 promise and included $500,000 in new funding for services for surviving families of homicide victims in his 2014-2015 budget. On a parallel track, legislation (HB355) that codifies our state's ongoing commitment to survivors of homicide victims is moving in the General Assembly. Thank the Governor for putting the money in the budget! And urge your legislators to vote for HB 355 and to protect and pass the $500,000 in new funding for murder victims' families in this year's budget. Take BOTH actions by clicking here. Let's make this the legacy of death penalty repeal in Maryland! - Watch their stories

“Maryland Abolishes the Death Penalty”

A limited edition, commemorative poster

Features photo from May 2, 2013 of Colosseum in Rome – lit up to celebrate the signing of Maryland's bill repealing the death penalty! Known for the horrific executions that once took place there, the Colosseum has become an international symbol of today's international movement to eliminate the death penalty. Since New Jersey repealed the death penalty in 2007, the Community of Sant'Egidio in Rome has organized a special lighting of the Colosseum each time a state has repealed its death penalty. Maryland is the sixth U.S. state to end the death penalty in six years!

MD Poster

Order your commemorative poster today! Shipped to you for a minimum donation of $15. Please be generous as all proceeds will help MD CASE push in 2014 for new funding for survivors of homicide victims from the expected savings from repealing the death penalty.

Maryland's Death Penalty

ReportNew Maryland Report:

A frank look at our state's death penalty, post 2009 reforms. We continue to risk the execution of an innocent person and have only added to the burdens of murder victims families and taxpayers.


Seeking a foolproof death penalty is a fool's errand. Includes appeal to the General Assembly signed by over three dozen Maryland attorneys, including former Governor Harry Hughes and former Attorneys General Stephen Sachs and Joseph Curran. 

 

The Cost of the Death Penalty in Maryland

Key Findings

“The Cost of the Death Penalty in Maryland” was commissioned by The Abell Foundation from researchers at The Urban Institute, a national, nonpartisan economic and social policy research organization. The report analyzed 1,136 Maryland capital murder cases adjudicated between 1978 and 1999 and developed an estimate of how much more was spent on those cases compared to non-death penalty cases. The report covers only cases in which the murder occurred before January 1, 2000.

In Maryland, Death Sentences Continue to Decline

In the first half of 2008, two more death penalty trials have ended without a death sentence.  Each defendant had opted for judge over jury decisions.  And both cases involved killings committed by men already in prison and so had been highlighted by death penalty proponents to justify continuing the death penalty in Maryland.

These trials continue a trend.  In 2007, two Baltimore County juries opted for LWOP over death in two high profile murder cases.  One of those cases was a second sentencing trial for Jamaal Abeokuto, who had been sentenced to death in 2004.  Abeokuto's had been the only new death sentence handed down in Maryland since 2000.

At the Death House Door

Compelling new documentary proves powerful organizing tool

Few on either side of the death penalty debate have witnessed the final walk of a condemned prisoner to the death chamber.  Appeals exhausted, there is no hope, save a last minute stay from the governor.  Pastor Carroll Pickett was there for nearly 100 such walks.  In an extraordinary new documentary, At the Death House Door, Pastor Pickett shares his experience - and all it ultimately stirred in him - alongside the stories of some of the men he walked with during his 15 years as chaplain at our nation's busiest death house in Huntsville, TX.

Supreme Court Justice Stevens Speaks Truth About the Death Penalty

Retention of the death penalty, the Justice has discerned, is likely "the product of habit and inattention rather than an acceptable deliberative process that weighs the costs and risks of [that] penalty against its identifiable benefits."

Church members can play an active role in abolishing state executions in Maryland. The time to act is now!

 

crossTHE BIBLE COMMANDS:
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer…
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:38-39, 43-45

Never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:19-21

CHURCH LEADERS TESTIFY:
How, in the end, does killing its citizens help the state to build the nonviolent, just and civil society that we all desire for ourselves and our children?” Bishop Eugene T. Sutton of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

The United Methodist Church cannot accept retribution or social vengeance as a reason for taking a life. It violates our deepest belief in God as the creator and redeemer of humankind… United Methodists emphatically declare that ‘We oppose capital punishment and urge its elimination from all criminal codes’ (Book of Discipline, Para 164 A).” Bishop Schol, Bishop of the United Methodist Church in the Baltimore-Washington Conference

THE MARYLAND COMMISSION ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT RECOMMENDS:
Maryland should repeal its death penalty citing the following findings:

  • The death penalty adds to the stress and trauma of families of victims.
  • Racial and jurisdictional disparities exist here in Maryland.
  • There is a real possibility of risk that innocent people might be executed.
  • The death penalty is not a deterrent.
  • The death penalty costs more than a life sentence without parole.

Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment

Findings & Recommendation

hearingsThe Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment was created by an Act of the Maryland General Assembly during its 2008 Legislative Session. The Commission's purpose was to study all aspects of capital punishment as currently and historically administered in the state and to make recommendations regarding its future use.

The law that created the Commission called for it to be comprised of 23 appointees, selected by the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Delegates, the President of the Senate as well as those specifically charged in the statute. Former U.S. Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti was appointed to chair the Commission. Commission members included prosecutors, police officers, members of the clergy, legislators, and murder victims' family members.

The Commission held five public hearings where testimony from experts and members of the public was presented. The Commission also held five additional meetings where the testimony and evidence presented to the Commission was discussed and later voted upon. Detailed voted counts on each of the findings of the Commission are contained in the final report.

The Commission's findings, many near unanimous, from the report are as follows:

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