On May 3, 2013, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed SB276 officially repealing the state’s death penalty. With this act, Maryland became the sixth state in six years to abolish the death penalty. In total, 18 states in the U.S., including Maryland, have abolished the death penalty.
The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), celebrates this important decision because since its inception, the American death penalty system has been corrupted by racial bias. Today, forty-two percent of death-sentenced prisoners in the United States are African American despite the fact that African Americans comprise only 13% of the U.S. population. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, 258 African Americans were executed for the murder of a white victim and only 20 whites were executed for the murder of an African-American victim.
In signing the legislation to abolish Maryland’s death penalty, Gov. O’Malley acknowledged that the death penalty “cannot be administered without racial bias.” This fact is confirmed by the disproportional racial make up of Maryland’s death row. African Americans are only 29% of the states population but make up 80% of Maryland’s death row inmates.
You can read more about this historic decision in the New York Times.
You can find further information about the death penalty at Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC).