Covered at Reason 24/7: Maryland Ends Use of Death Penalty

Maryland’s legislature voted today to end the state’s use of the death penalty. The governor – who supported the ban – will make it official next month. Maryland is the 18th state to ban the death penalty.

NBC News reports:

Maryland has five men on death row; the new legislation would allow the governor to commute their sentences. The state last executed someone in 2005. It has put five people to death since reinstating the death penalty in 1978.

The House of Delegates rejected more than 20 proposed amendments to the ban, most proposed by Republicans, including some that would have allowed the death penalty in certain cases, such as child murders and the killing of police officers.

Follow this story and more at Reason 24/7.

If you have a story that would be of interest to Reason's readers please let us know by emailing the 24/7 crew at 24_7@reason.com, or tweet us stories at @reason247.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Aresen||

    The House of Delegates rejected more than 20 proposed amendments to the ban, most proposed by Republicans, including some that would have allowed the death penalty in certain cases, such as child murders and the killing of police officers.

    I would not condone killing a cop, but equally I do not condone making them sacrosanct.

    Fellating cops in a state assembly, however....

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'm sure the lower levels of the criminal justice system can and do find a way of imposing the death penalty on accused cop killers anyway.

  • ||

    That's just crazy talk, FoE, just ask Christopher Dorner...

  • Irish||

    Yeah, the entire idea that cops are deserving of special treatment is absurd. I hate it when gun laws allow cops to own weapons the rest of us can't own, and the idea that killing a police officer is somehow worse than murdering anyone else is absurd.

    I believe there's some clause in a constitutional amendment about 'equal protection' or some such nonsense. Must have been a bunch of fucking hippies that put that in there.

  • DWC||

    The issue with the death penalty does not/should not involve who the person is convicted of murdering, but with the possibility that the person has been wrongly convicted, which has happened many times and a fair number of innocents have been executed.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The House of Delegates rejected more than 20 proposed amendments to the ban, most proposed by Republicans...

    If they're not careful, Republicans could possibly maybe start losing the moral high ground in that whole liberal culture of death thing.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "Republicans could possibly maybe start losing the moral high ground"

    Too late

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I know I like to pretend I'm 100 percent fully against even the thought of the death penalty, but I can't deny that I sometimes feel that some crimes warrant the discussion of capital punishment. That being said, I can think of no two governments I'd trust the power in less than those of the State of Alabama and the federal government.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    *can't

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Or maybe I was correct the first time. Grammer Nazis, can I get a ruling?

  • ||

    TO THE CAMPS!

    I can't think of anything I'd trust less...
    I can think of nothing I'd trust less...

    Either would work, can was correct for the structure you used.

  • A Serious Man||

    Meh, life in prison without parole is a pretty hellish punishment.

    The worst offenders could get something like life in solitary confinement.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Yeah, but I can't claim to hate the mob that killed Mussolini. But at the same time, they executed his mistress, which I do hate them for.

  • Irish||

    Yeah, plus if you put someone in jail for life, there's always the possibility later evidence could exonerate them. If you kill someone...well they're just shit out of luck, aren't they?

  • SIV||

    If you put a heinous killer in jail for life there's always the possibility later he could be released or escape.

  • Cavpitalist||

    If you put a heinous killer in jail for life there's always the possibility later he could be released or escape.

    Between the wrongly killed prisoner and the wrongly released prisoner, I prefer the latter.

  • Irish||

    Murder by state is inherently worse than the possibility that an individual MIGHT murder again. If you get the wrong person it's a guarantee that an innocent is dead. If a killer somehow get's out, there's only a possibility they'll kill again.

  • SIV||

    If the killer is dead the chances of him killing again is zero.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Between the wrongly killed prisoner and the wrongly released prisoner, I prefer the latter.

    The real problem with the life in prison argument is that the lifers can and often do kill other less violent inmates, specifically non criminals that were ass fucked by the 'justice system'.

    One of the Cosmp's douche du jour from a couple of years ago was given a life sentence for murder, killed a couple of inmates and was subsequently released, to you guessed it, kill another person in a botched robbery.

    Cosmos and progs were all bent out of shape because the scumbag claimed that he only held down the last murder victim and didn't actually pull the trigger.

    And completely ignored the fact that he admitted to kiling a couple of low level drug user in the joint that pissed him off.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    "If you put a heinous killer in jail for life there's always the possibility later he could be released or escape."

    Yes, if his sentence is "Life" (which includes the possibility, not the certainty of parole). Life Without Parole means you die in prison. There aren't many who escape, and those who do don't stay out for long.

    Murders who get Life (with parole) are often paroled due to prison over-crowding. Like to guess what the leading cause of prison over-crowding is? I'll give you a hint: it's the war on something.

  • C. Anacreon||

    The worst offenders could get something like life in solitary confinement.

    In a really small cell only four feet high. That would get old really quickly.

    The death penalty is too easy a penalty for some crimes.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    My distrust of the state notwithstanding, there are few things I wouldn't want to do to a child killer. Like letting them find out what their left ball tastes like. I know, that's not the basis of a sound, libertarian justice system; it's just the way I feel.

    Get the non-violent drug offenders out (and other non-violent offenders), then I won't feel too sorry for what happens to the rest when the guard's backs are turned. As it stands now, there are plenty of people in prison who -- whatever their faults -- do not deserve to be sodomized by a broom handle.

    Unless they are into that.

  • ||

    After seeing the venality of prosecutors, story after story about wrongful convictions, and reports of the police railroading people in interrogation rooms, you better not still be for the death penalty.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I would be against it just for the fact that there are plenty of people like out there that are anti-death penalty that don't want to spend their tax dollars on it, let alone my philosophical and moral disagreements with capital punishment.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I dunno -- I'd rather punch out my timecard than be stuck in a room deprived of all senses and stimuli. There are things worse than death to many people: this is especially true if you believe in an afterlife and eternal soul, but is no doubt the case with many atheists and those who have a less traditionalist approach to religion, as well.

    I realize those aren't the only two options but if that's what Maryland is replacing its capital punishment with, then it isn't an improvement.

  • ||

    Ooh, maybe opt-in death penalty?

    We've found you guilty. You have the option of life imprisonment w/o parole*, or the death penalty.

    *WHAM!'s Last Christmas will be on infinite loop in your cell 18 hours per day.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    That might actually be a good way to resolve that issue.

  • ||

    I'm sure someone will argue that exposing someone to that much WHAM! would be the same as violently coercing them to choosing their own death...which is probably true.

  • AuH2O||

    Wham just makes you gay, which prison needs no help worth.

    Wait, question:does gay porn have a 'men in prison' counterpart to the old 'women in prison" movies?

  • Coeus||

    Wait, question:does gay porn have a 'men in prison' counterpart to the old 'women in prison" movies?

    How is the answer to that not obvious?

  • AuH2O||

    I just assume that prison settings on gay porn are more eastern euro bdsm than an American style "in prison" movie

  • Coeus||

    I'm sure they run gamut.

  • ||

    I just assume that prison settings on gay porn are more eastern euro bdsm than an American style "in prison" movie

    You're thinking German particularly Cazzo. Eastern Europeans more frequently focus on pretty vanilla twinks or jocks having sex. In the '90s they put more effort into ridiculous plot.

  • AuH2O||

    God is german pron weird. Seeing it has actually explained a lot about Ww2 for me

  • ||

    I seem to do unreasonable with the Germans...

  • ||

    Rule 34? I haven't seen any recently, but it certainly exists.

  • ||

    ...if that's what Maryland is replacing its capital punishment with, then it isn't an improvement.

    One of them can be remedied if the person is later able to prove their innocence.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    If I'm the guy who's been deprived of all stimuli for 10 years, I'm not the same guy who was convicted for murder. For better or worse (mostly worse), that person is going to emerge quite changed -- and not everyone wants to go through that.

    Better a 10-year appeals process in a crappy prison than solitary confinement during that same period -- at least, for me.

  • Mike M.||

    The liberal scum are aggressively pushing the idea that solitary confinement is torture. That's going to be the next thing to get banned.

  • ||

    There needs to be another standard of proof for the death penalty.

    Some truly deserve to die for their crimes. But I can think of nothing worse than putting an innocent person to death.

    How about an "any doubt" and "no doubt" standard? If there is any doubt, any possibility that the defendant could have been set up, framed... the worst sentence can be life in prison.

    In cases where there are tons of witnesses and/or the defendant is caught red handed or on tape... waste the fucker.

  • General Butt Naked||

    No matter the standard, I can't trust the government not to execute an innocent man.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    But you trust them to lock someone in a rape cage for 60 years.

    How enlightened of you.

  • General Butt Naked||

    If you can't understand that death is permanent and irreversible, then congratulations! you have the mind of a five year old You know, before the whole abstract concept of death = forever thing is understood.

    Lemme guess, you think that an innocent guy with a death sentence who spends 10 years in prison and is exonerated after being executed is better off than an innocent guy that serves 20 years in prison before being exonerated?

    That you think the government is capable enough to hold the power of life and death in its hands is fucking sad. Now go cry about cosmotarians a bit more and leave me to drink in peace. And quit getting your arguments from Tulpa, it makes you look like an idiot (more).

  • VG Zaytsev||

    NO I think in the real world an innocent* guy sentenced to death is 1000 times more likely to exonerated, and have a better life along the way, than an innocent person sentenced to life, who will be entirely forgotten and likely not survive life in the prison's general population.

    *by innocent I mean innocent, not some gang banger scum bag that's done hundreds of crimes and gets convicted on his general reputation.

  • AuH2O||

    Yeah. I simply can not bring myself to care that the state killed Gacy and I wish they coulda offed Speck before the ban

  • AlmightyJB||

    I would agree that if you're going to have the death penelty at all the evidentuary requirements should be much greater than exist today. You should have to pass some level of evidence requirement to even prosecute for the death penelty. That being said even with those things there's no guarentee because police have been known to fabricate evidence or just plan screw it up through incompetence. I'm guessing that happens too often for me to be comfortable with wholey supporting the death penelty.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    "In cases where there are tons of witnesses and/or the defendant is caught red handed or on tape... waste the fucker."

    Honestly, most of the low life mother-fuckers on Death Row are people who are obviously guilty. They were drinking a beer sitting next to the battered corpse of their "bitch girlfriend" with blood under their fingernails. This is why I will NEVER hold a candle for these fuckers, even if I do not trust the state to get it right every time.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I’m still for it in principle, but I don’t trust the state to only kill people who have it coming.

    -jcr

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I can't deny that I sometimes feel that some crimes warrant the discussion of capital punishment.

    So do I, but then I realize that's mostly an emotional rage reaction to a heinous crime, and part of the reason we have laws so we can make decisions about how to handle things when we're not too emotionally impacted by circumstance to think straight.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    How is it any more or less valid an emotional reaction than a reaction against the death penalty on the basis of empathy? I'm not in favor of the death penalty, but c'mon.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Because (at least in my case) the rage tends to be fleeting.

  • SIV||

    I'd trust Alabama more with the death penalty if they gave it to rogue neuroscientist (is there any other kind?) Amy Bishop.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I like to say I'm against it for legal reasons, not moral reasons (although I am against it for some moral reasons, too). Sure, some assholes deserve to die (Brian David Mitchell comes to mind), but I don't trust the government not to fuck it up the way it fucks everything else up.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Grammer Nazis, can I get a ruling?

    You misspelled grammar; now you have to write it on the blackboard five hundred times.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Aww, sh...I guess I've been watching too much Frasier?

  • Sudden||

    Just stick with the misspelling error. Less embarrassing.

  • Cavpitalist||

    You misspelled grammar; now you have to write it on the blackboard five hundred times.

    Mind your AP style, use figures for numbers 10 and above

  • Sudden||

    Instead of to the death, to the pain.

    And some appropriate justiceporn on that topic

  • General Butt Naked||

    I never understood people thinking that fighting strangers in public over bullshit is ever going to end well.

  • Irish||

    Eh. That guy who got fucked up deserved it, but the guy just sucker punched him. If you're going to hit someone, at least do it to their face.

  • ||

    I dunno, I kinda like the symmetry of him getting clocked out of nowhere. since he's running around abusing people seemingly at random.

    It's certainly not the best form on grey shirt, but in this case it works really well.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I have to disagree.

    The guy was punching people who had no interest in fighting him. He assaulted numerous people and had no expectations of mutual combat at that point.

    I personally wouldn't engage in combat with anyone unless in defense of myself or my friends and family; that being said, no warning or quarter will be given at that point. I wouldn't hand a home invader armed with a knife one of my guns because it's "unmanly" to shoot a guy without a gun by surprise.

  • Agammamon||

    Fuck that - afrodude got exactly what he deserved.

  • Coeus||

    Gotta disagree as well. You only fight with honor when your opponent has honor. Sucker-punching and abusive prick is totally cricket.

  • General Butt Naked||

    There's no honor in any fighting outside of defending oneself. Two guys squaring off because of perceived insults have watched too many movies, and the end results will be someone being injured and someone, or both, going to jail. And these results have no bearing on who was the most just or "honorable".

    If you're beyond high school age, the most honorable thing to do when presented with someone who wants to square off is to tell them that you don't want any trouble and walk away. If they attempt to do you harm after that, then you stop the threat by any means necessary available to you.

  • Coeus||

    If you're beyond high school age, the most honorable thing to do when presented with someone who wants to square off is to tell them that you don't want any trouble and walk away. If they attempt to do you harm after that, then you stop the threat by any means necessary available to you.

    That is a lesson I had to learn after moving to a city (they run in packs in cities, you would rarely get an honorable fight). However, it operates differently in a small Texas town.

    And as for this:

    you don't want any trouble and walk away.

    I would suggest you change that to back away. I have been sucker punched doing what you advise (another lesson I needed for city life).

  • General Butt Naked||

    However, it operates differently in a small Texas town.

    How so?


    -----
    and yes, by all means back away.

  • Coeus||

    There is an honor code enforced via peer pressure. No jumping in, and no weapons. We all had pocket knives we carried all the time (even at school). Out of the dozens of fights I've seen (and participated in) not one person ever pulled a knife or other weapon.

    Now if you're somewhere with no witnesses and outnumbered, you do run. Fast.

  • Coeus||

    The downside to this peer pressure is that if you don't fight, your name is mud. Reputation is very important in a small town, and you're better off losing a fight than running from it.

    Unfortunately, this makes life very difficult for the smaller guys. But then, what doesn't?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Okay, I get what you're saying. I misread your statement to meant that fist fighting in a small texas town was an honorable pursuit, not that the rules were more honorable (which they are as your description).

    As for reputation: anyone who thinks I'm not an honorable man for not fighting some asshole I bumped into at the Post Hole Inn on saturday night isn't someone whose approval I could give two shits about having.

  • Coeus||

    Okay, I get what you're saying. I misread your statement to meant that fist fighting in a small texas town was an honorable pursuit,

    Yeah, the act is rarely honorable, merely unavoidable. There's not really much honor gained from fighting, just much lost for not.

    As for reputation: anyone who thinks I'm not an honorable man for not fighting some asshole I bumped into at the Post Hole Inn on saturday night isn't someone whose approval I could give two shits about having.

    I agree in theory, but in practice that attitude leaves your dick mighty dry.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I agree in theory, but in practice that attitude leaves your dick mighty dry.

    Sometimes there are consequences to keeping to your principles. Some people*, like those who've never fought, think that fighting is the hard way, or is the hard man's way of doing things, but it's quite the opposite. To not slug a guy saying all kinds of harsh shit to your face, with many onlookers is much harder.

    *I'm not implying that this is you, but this is true of much of the general population

  • Coeus||

    Okay, I think you're still not getting me. What you describe is how I function in the city (actually happened about a year ago]. But even in the sticks, punching him is not necessary. You just don't stand down. Sometimes the aggressor will back down. I was fighting for years without ever taking the first punch. I was very wedded to the ”reluctant gunfighter who only draws when he must” trope for my self image (still am, point of fact). The one time I took the first punch was the only fight I lost (I had reasons, but I could have let it go). Took it as a sign. You don't have to hit someone, you just have to not back down and insult him back.

    But what this guy did is actually a positive action. He was defending the helpless. I have done the same, on numerous occasions. But no squaring off was necessary in this instance, as reputation does not work that way in the city. I might have handled it in the same way (though I played it old school hick in that railcar in Geneva a few years back).

  • AlmightyJB||

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Lil Wayne nmay have finally taken too many drugs.

  • ||

    You've seen this, no?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    indeed

  • Irish||

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/15/.....?hpt=hp_t1

    Lil Wayne just suffered a seizure. Clearly this didn't work out the way we'd hoped.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Ryan Seacrest shaves his beard

  • ||

    And that was precisely what I thought it would be.

  • wareagle||

    I have no problem with capital punishment in extreme cases, the Ted Bundy types and so forth. Then again, I always thought the mode of execution should mirror how the victims were killed. Failing that, it would be nice if life in prison actually meant life.

  • SIV||

    I don't believe in prisons or a state monopoly on retributive violence.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Celebrating St. Patrick's Day? Skip the Guinness.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I fucking hate st patrick's day. I have almost went down to my old neighborhood with a baseball bat and just started braining random revelers just because.

    If there is one thing this world needs less of, it's lightweights drinking too much. Fuck the irish, and fuck their bullshit holiday.

  • ||

    It's my birthday...bitch!

    FOADIAF!

  • AuH2O||

    Seriously do yourself a favor and try out Mcsorely's Irish black lager. Or some non killians irish red

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    While I would certainly rather have Old Rasputin than Guinness, the point isn't to drink stout but to drink something Irish.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Oh man.

    Wanna see what we're up against:

    This is a guy named Barry Cooper that was a cop but now makes videos on how to not get busted. He's appearing on the soccer mom, middle-america favorite Morning Show. Notice how he's received.

    We are so fucked. This country is so far from liberty and even wanting liberty that I'm amazed we're not in reeducation camps for posting on this blog. For any wishy-washy 2nd amendment supporters out there, remember that these people like to throw people in a cage for a long time for smoking weed; an innocent pastime if there ever was one.

  • C. Anacreon||

    Are you sure you're not a pussy trying to suck up to liberals by being pro-marijuana?

    The audience is definitely against him, you're right. Not much choice with that crowd. Extra points to Cooper for even trying.

    I would like to boff that lady co-host, though.

  • General Butt Naked||

    The lady co-host seemed to be the only one close to be willing to listen, so I give her one boff-point for that.

    I watched some videos of the cooper guy on the yootoob and he's got some cool vids up. They did this thing where they moved into a neighborhood and acted very suspicious to get the cops to raid them for growing pot. All that was in the house was some lights over some little christmas trees, a shitload of cameras and notes on the wall taunting the pigs. Needless to say he was harassed for this, but it makes for great entertainment.

    As for the pussy thing: yes, I am a pussy, because one is what one eats. I am also a very well-armed pussy because I hate bullies and refuse to be intimidated.

  • C. Anacreon||

    You do know about the Ann Coulter "libertarians are pussies trying to suck up to liberals about marijuana" quote, I trust. I think they only did about 85 stories on it on H&R.

    You just wanted to say "pussy" three times over two sentences.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yeah, I saw it and figured that what was you were referencing.

    Now don't get me wrong, I haven't eaten nearly the pussy that Coulter has, but I've had my fair share in the day.

  • Irish||

    That video is disgusting. I'm at the part where he references no knock police raids and the blonde woman says 'Does that happen often?!?!?!' and the cop assures her that it doesn't.

    I have to agree with butt naked on that one. We are fucked.

  • A Serious Man||

    Team USA bounched from World Baseball Classic by Puerto Rico. I'm going to try and find that Puerto Rican Day Parade episode of Seinfeld.

  • Hyperion||

    Murland can't afford to lose any tax payers, or free labor, or democrat voters...

  • sloopyinca||

    Maryland beating Duke was like the opposite of being sent to the gas chamber. And speaking of basketball, it's time to sign up for the Reason Hit & Run Superdrone Tourney Pick-Em.

    This is no time for cowardice. Either enter and test your skill against the rest of the Reasonoids or be forever labeled a pussy.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Unusual caves. Not pictured: Epi's mom

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    how did that end up there

  • sloopyinca||

    Because you're retarded?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    that was hurtful

  • sloopyinca||

    Then I'm sorry.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    accepted. now I'm going to enter your little contest

  • Irish||

    I will destroy you both. There shall be no respite.

  • AuH2O||

    No Uconn? Yes I knew this going in, but I was able to accept it until I heard the education sec highlighting it as an example of how the dept. Of ed. And schools have to care about young black men. So, basically, if they are poor and have no athletic talent, fuck them, but those who can bounce a basketball we expect something of damnit!

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I have watched 5 minutes of basketball all season. I'm in.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • Irish||

    That is clearly not Irish. He wouldn't have been able to finish the word 'potatoes' without starving to death or blowing himself up in service to the Catholic faith.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • sticks||

    Beware my farts.

  • ||

    Damn right bitches.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    I seem to do unreasonable with the Germans...

    You know who else was unreasonable with the Germans?

  • ||

    The actors from Dinner for One?

  • I GOT HUNG UP SILLY||

    Law abiding Americans should be aware that our U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been speaking out in public speeches about Uncle Sam not being able to provide all Americans proper criminal legal representation!

    Texas Governor Rick Perry's failed attempt to Execute Hank Skinner without even allowing his legal defense to test crucial DNA evidence,is one prime example of injustice concerning our countries rush to execute..

    Defense lawyers actually admitting falling asleep on various Death Penalty Cases shows all reasonable minded citizens that there are possible innocent being executed across America..

    With the proof of hundreds of imprisoned little Americans being freed from Death Row and Life in Prison via DNA testing,it's better our USA judicial system errors on the side of the possible innocent vs wrongful executions..

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement