Thursday, January 10, 2013

ENDORSEMENTS: Washington Post Endorses Maryland Death Penalty Repeal // GOP Lawmaker Seeks Mandatory Executions

The issue of death penalty repeal is quickly creating dividing lines in Maryland politics, and just as with marriage equality and the Dream Act, many progressive politicians have been quick to announce their support for abolition. Conversely, many of the same lawmakers who created problems for immigration reform and LGBT rights are quickly expressing their support for continued government murder (see eg Delegate Pat McDonough).

Below Maryland Juice highlights two endorsements on the death penalty issue. The first piece is an editorial from The Washington Post, while the second is a press release from Republican Delegate Pat McDonough (aka "That Guy With the Speak English Lawnsign"). The two items represent diametrically opposed views on the death penalty:

By the grace of state Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert), Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has been handed a second chance — probably his last — to abolish the state’s death penalty. He should seize it.... The puzzling news is that Mr. O’Malley, though he remains as opposed to capital punishment as ever, is balking.... Without a push by Mr. O’Malley himself, the status quo will remain unchanged and Maryland's death penalty will remain on the books.

...even if the machinery of death is frozen, there are good reasons to abolish it for good and to eliminate a costly, unjust and dysfunctional system....

The arguments against capital punishment are refreshed and strengthened every time a capital conviction is overturned. In September, Damon Thibodeaux was freed after 15 years on Louisiana’s death row — the 18th convict released from prison after analysis of DNA evidence. As long as the death penalty exists, the nation risks committing the gravest of injustices: killing innocent people.



News Conference
Friday, January 11, 2013, 2:00 PM
310 Lowe House Office Building
Annapolis, MD 21401

Delegate Pat McDonough Offers 
5 Bills Mandating Death Penalty 
  • Delegate Pat McDonough will introduce 5 bills that mandate the use of capital punishment in the case of mass murder, murder of a law enforcement officer or correctional officer, contract murder, or serial killer.
  •  At a time when the Governor and liberal members of the General Assembly are attempting to abolish the death penalty, Delegate Pat McDonough believes they are moving in the wrong direction.  “The recent mass murder of children in Newtown makes it clear that a capital punishment remedy is necessary.  I find it hard to believe that the Governor, or any member of the General Assembly, would support the idea of an assassin of innocent children to be granted life without parole.  It would be unthinkable that the taxpayers and victims’ families be subjected to paying for the existence of this type of murderer for decades after the slaughter of these innocents.  Moreover, according to Maryland law, a mass murderer could be found to be insane and eventually released into the community.  Also, that same mass murderer, according to Maryland law, is a convicted felon and would be eligible to vote,” McDonough concluded.
  •  There are approximately 3,400 convicted murderers in the Maryland prison system.  Many are not serving life without parole and will be back on the streets through early release programs. These same murderers would have been eligible for a college degree obtained in the system which would promote another form of early release for them.  However, Delegate McDonough successfully passed an amendment on the floor of the House of Delegates during the last session prohibiting convicted murderers from participating in the prison college early release program.
  • Over the years, the Maryland General Assembly has become ‘criminal friendly’ by promoting early release programs and other policies that benefit offenders.  Recently, the Governor and legislators made it easier for convicted murderers to receive automatic parole without the confirmation of the Governor.  Public safety and crime victims’ rights have been relegated to second class citizenship.  It is hypocritical for the elected representatives of the people to engage in vigorous advocacy for gun control and abolishing the death penalty while, at the same time, not providing serious help regarding protection of the public.  Gun laws and killing the death penalty only benefit the criminals.  If the Governor and the General Assembly are honest, they will guarantee that this year’s debate will broaden into a serious discussion about crime, gun violence, revolving door justice in our prison system, and real solutions. “I intend to fight hard to generate an honest and serious debate on these issues,” promised Delegate McDonough.

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