Wednesday, December 31, 2014

More on Maryland and the death penalty

As we noted at the time,Maryland abolished its death penalty back in May 2013. We did not note, however, that the bill abolishing the death penalty did not apply to people in Maryland who had been sentenced to death. i.e., on Maryland's death row, but not yet executed. For those people, any celebration over the death penalty being abolished was probably muted.  

The Washington Post reports that outgoing Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has commuted the sentences of the prisoners on Maryland's death row to life in prison without the possibility of parole. According to the story, four prisoners are affected by Governor's move. The Post also says that at the time the death penalty was abolished in Maryland there were five prisoners on death row but that one died of natural causes.

What do you think Mr. Torvik? Is commuting the sentences an act of mercy? Is it thwarting the will of the Maryland Legislature? Or is Merle Haggard (via the Byrds here) right that serving life in prison is worse than being executed?

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