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March 16, 2007

Will any state formally repeal the death penalty?

There has been, as detailed in posts linked below, a lot of discussion in a number of states about a legislative repeal of the death penalty.  But, as this Baltimore Sun article highlights, converting repeal talk into repeal action is still hard.  Here are the details:

Efforts to repeal the death penalty in Maryland were dealt an apparently fatal blow Thursday when a key state Senate committee defeated the measure, leaving a court-ordered moratorium on state executions in place and some legislators weighing a study of the issue.  Weeks of behind-the-scenes wrangling and lobbying by religious and law enforcement officials culminated Thursday with the bill's defeat in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on a tie vote.

Sen. Alex X. Mooney, the Frederick Republican and devout Catholic who was expected to swing the Senate vote, did not support the repeal after trying unsuccessfully to exempt prisoners who kill again while serving a jail term.  He told the committee that he struggled with the choice. "I have decided that a full and absolute repeal of the death penalty under all circumstances is not in the best interest for the common good of Maryland's citizens," he said.

Of course, like so many other aspects of the death penalty, the repeal talk and the failure of repeal action is mostly about politics and symbolism.  Most states talking about repeal have not executed any defendants in recent years and seem unlikely, for various reasons, to execute anyone soon despite a failure of repeal efforts.

Some recent related posts:

March 16, 2007 at 09:31 AM | Permalink

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Comments

"Of course, like so many other aspects of the death penalty, the repeal talk and the failure of repeal action is mostly about politics and symbolism."

Too true. They think they can get the deterrent effect w/o the political will to execute. The 8th Amendment evolving standards calculus should look at executions rather than the dead letters on the books.

Posted by: rothmatisseko | Mar 16, 2007 12:17:06 PM

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