Maryland to Repeal Death Penalty; Delaware is Next Target For Abolition
Maryland is set to become the 18th state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to abolish the death penalty. With an 82-56 vote in the Maryland House of Delegates on Friday, the bill, which previously passed the Maryland Senate by a 27-20 vote, is now heading to Governor Martin O’Malley’s desk for his signature. The Governor, who was instrumental in pushing the bill through the legislature, is sure to sign it into law.
The religious, and especially the Jewish, community played a large role in the passage of this landmark legislation. The Baltimore Board of Rabbis and the Howard County Board of Rabbis, representing the broad array of Jewish denominations, helped to lead the moral call for the repeal of the death penalty. Faith leaders also rallied to express the wide consensus within the religious community that the death penalty is an ineffective, outdated and immoral practice.
While the faith community was instrumental, much of the success in Maryland is due in part to the tremendous effort of our partners at the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP), who tirelessly worked toward this goal and helped to coordinate and organize those in Maryland to secure the passage of this important civil rights legislation.
As we count the success in Maryland and celebrate the repeal, our work now shifts to Delaware, which is considering its own repeal legislation. The faith community is already taking a leading role, and if predictions ring true, Delaware might soon be the 19th state to declare the death penalty a thing of the past. Check out this impassioned speech by Rabbi Yair Robinson to the Delaware legislature.
If you live in Delaware, you might check out a great event in Wilmington, Delaware, featuring Kirk Bloodsworth. Mr. Bloodsworth spent 10 years on death row for a crime he did not commit, and was the first person in the United States to be exonerated with the use of DNA technology. He will speak at the Siegel JCC tonight, Tuesday, March 19th, at 7:00 PM.
Image courtesy of AP