Repeal Stands in Maryland

In his opinion editorial that appeared in yesterday’s The Baltimore Sun, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous celebrated the end of the death penalty in Maryland and called for nation-wide repeal, advocating for a reallocation of funds to community-oriented policing and more resources for solving cold cases.

Last week, death penalty proponents who had hoped to overturn SB 276, the death penalty repeal bill that Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law last month, announced that they failed to gather the required amount of signatures to petition for a referendum on the issue to be on the ballot in the November 2014 election. “The people of Maryland have spoken,” said Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, in a press release on Friday. “Voters are standing behind the decision by their elected officials to abolish the state’s death penalty.”

Jealous wrote that his organization remains committed to working to abolish the death penalty elsewhere and pointed to strides that are being made in other states as public opinion on the issue continues to shift. “Our strategy is clear,” he said. “We will outlaw it in a majority of states, and then we will go to the United States Supreme Court and make the argument that the punishment is not only cruel by its very nature but also unusual because most states have passed laws against it.”

Photo: NAACP President Ben Jealous and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (naacpphotos via Compfight)

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