Wednesday, February 21, 2007

No question where they stand

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley drew a clear line where he stands on the death penalty in today's WaPo.
In Maryland, since 1978, we have executed five people and set one convicted man free when his innocence was discovered. Are any of us willing to sacrifice a member of our own family -- wrongly convicted, sentenced and executed -- in order to secure the execution of five rightly convicted murders? And even if we were, could that public policy be called "just"? I do not believe it can.

The movement to repeal the death penalty in Maryland is accelerating with hearings today at the state capitol in Annapolis. Gov O'Malley is among the witnesses.

Then there's this powerful op-ed from two women with a Pennsylvania connection. Vicki Schieber's daughter, Shannon, was raped and murdered while she was a grad student at Penn, and Vicki and her husband Sylvester, who are practicing Catholics, opposed the death penalty for Shannon's killer and clashed with Philly DA Lynne Abraham over the issue.

Carolyn Leming of York County nearly lost her son, Ray Krone, to a wrongful execution in Arizona. In 2002, Ray became the 100th person exonerated after spending time on the row when DNA evidence cleared him.
We write as mothers who have been scarred by the death penalty.

Our stories are very different, but they are both stories of justice gone wrong. They are stories that convince us the capital punishment system in Maryland and across the country is broken beyond repair.

Let's recap: New York has an indefinite halt to executions after a state court declared it unconstitutional in 2004. New Jersey has a moratorium and a state commission that studied the issue called for abolition. Maryland is considering repeal. West Virginia has no death penalty. Ohio has an abolitionist governor and an attorney general who has publicly questioned how capital punishment is applied.

And Pennsylvania? Stickin' out like a sore thumb.

Andy in the HBG

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