Delegate Tony McConkey's Official Blog

Maryland Death Penalty

Maryland Death Penalty

The Governor introduced legislation during the 2013 legislative Session to repeal the Maryland Death Penalty, it passed and was signed into law. I voted to retain the Maryland Death Penalty.

UPDATE – Oct 24, 2017 – Deadly Edgewood Shooting Incident Reignites Death Penalty Debate -CBS
Maryland Death Penalty Repeal - Tony McConkeyUPDATE – May 31, 2013 – Efforts To Restore Capital Punishment Falls Short – Balt Sun
UPDATE – May 2, 2013 – Gov Signs Into Law The Death Penalty Repeal – Balt Sun
UPDATE – Apr 30, 2013 – Decision Close On Petitioning Death Penalty Repeal – Wash Post
UPDATE – Apr 7, 2013 – After Death Penalty Repeal O’Malley Faces Decisions On Death Row Inmates – Wash Post
UPDATE – Mar 15, 2013 – How The House Voted On The Repeal Of The Death Penalty – Wash Post
UPDATE – Mar 13, 2013 -Death Penalty Repeal Underlines Democrats Leftward Shifts – Wash Post
UPDATE – Mar 7, 2013 – How The Maryland Senate Voted On Repealing The Death Penalty – Wash Post
UPDATE – Mar 6, 2013 – Death Penalty Repeal Approved By Maryland Senate – Wash Post
UPDATE – Mar 5, 2013 – Senate Squashes Amendments To Retain Death Penalty – Balt Sun
UPDATE – Mar 1, 2013 – Senate: Maryland Death Penalty Repeal Advances – Balt Sun
UPDATE – Feb 21, 2013 – Senate Chair Announces First Vote On Maryland Death Penalty Repeal – WJLA
Maryland Death Penalty Commission Report To The General Assembly 2008

The Repeal of the Maryland Death Penalty, Part II

reprinted from the Severna Park Voice

The Governor has announced that once again he is making the repeal of the death penalty a priority for his administration. This legislative session he has requested (house bill) HB 295 “Death Penalty Repeal”.

His efforts started in 2008, when after losing a close vote on the death penalty, the Governor created the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment for further study. The Commission Report announced to no one’s surprise that it too recommended repeal.

So in 2009 the Governor tried again, but the legislature refused. Instead, the legislature agreed to a number of restrictions that would make its use very rare. The 2009 changes imposed a number of hurdles such as video tape or DNA evidence that would only allow the imposition of the death penalty in the most clear cut cases. After that compromise, many thought the issue was settled.

Fast forward to 2013. In 2014, our Governor will be out of work and is looking for issues to pad his resume for his next campaign. Is the death penalty a real issue right now? No. With the restrictions put in place in 2009, Maryland is unlikely to see another death penalty case for some time, but that matters little as long as the issue continues to get him on TV and in the newspapers.

I plan to vote to preserve our death penalty, and a statewide Gonzales poll last month says Marylanders agree. I believe the balances struck by the Maryland statue to be nearly perfect. Since its reform in 1978 Maryland has executed only 5 individuals. Under our existing law the death penalty is reserved for only the most heinous aggravated murder. Built into our law are numerous procedural safeguards like an automatic appeal to the State’s Highest Court, DNA testing, and the use of special judges and counsel. Safeguards that were strengthened in 2009.

A review of the cases of the five executed is demonstrative. No gray areas present.

With only 5 executions over thirty five years, we take execution very seriously. We value life.

The taking of life is to be avoided, but society and people of faith accept the taking of a life when it is done to save life. When a police officer or a citizen uses deadly force in self defense or to defend the life of another it is justified. Likewise, when the State enforces the death penalty it not only stops that murderer from again taking life, it gives pause to all future murderers who have yet to act.

Also a sentence of life does little to deter murders among prisoners already serving life terms. Correctional officials are among the strongest advocates for keeping the death penalty because of its use to help maintain order among the worst felons.

I think our limited death penalty is reasonable and humane and serves our State in ultimately preserving life. It is worthy of your support.

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