From today's Baltimore Sun:
Voices against death penalty
Victims' relatives, bishops speak against state executions
By Jennifer McMenamin | Sun reporter
ANNAPOLIS - A group of relatives of murder victims called on state lawmakers yesterday to repeal the death penalty, complaining that the long appeals process that accompanies capital murder prosecutions drags families through painful delays without delivering the justice that the system initially promises.
Standing with their arms around each other's shoulders and holding photos of their loved ones, 10 people delivered a letter signed by dozens more like them to the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment, which held the third of its four scheduled hearings yesterday in Annapolis. The panel is examining disparities in the application of the death penalty, the cost differential between litigating prolonged capital punishment cases and life imprisonment, and the impact of DNA evidence.
Like many others who spoke at yesterday's five-hour hearing, the victims' family members asked the commission to recommend the replacement of the death penalty with a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
"To be meaningful, justice should be swift and sure. Life without parole, which begins immediately, is both of these; the death penalty is neither," Lisa Delity, a schoolteacher from Bowie, told the commission, reading from the letter signed by 49 Marylanders who have lost relatives to murder. "Capital punishment drags victims' loved ones through an agonizing and lengthy process, holding out the promise of one punishment in the beginning and often resulting in a life sentence in the end anyway."
Emphasizing that their request was based not on universal opposition to capital punishment but out of concern that Maryland's use of the ultimate punishment does more harm than good, the letter writers added, "Though we share different perspectives on the death penalty, every one of us agrees that Maryland's capital punishment system doesn't work for victims' families, and that our state is better off without it."
Full article is here.