The Senate-approved measure passed the House of Delegates with a 82-56 vote. Gov. O'Malley introduced the legislation in January, and is expected to sign the bill into law.
In a statement released after the bill's passing, O'Malley praised the elimination of "a policy that is proven not to work."
"Evidence shows that the death penalty is not a deterrent, it cannot be administered without racial bias, and it costs three times as much as life in prison without parole. What's more, there is no way to reverse a mistake if an innocent person is put to death."
The state hasn't executed an inmate in eight years. O'Malley's office said the governor will make case-by-case decisions regarding the five inmates currently on death row.
In a February interview with BuzzFeed's Ruby Cramer, O'Malley said he believes national repeal is on the horizon:
"I believe that over time you'll see more and more states coming to the conclusion that I believe we are coming to in Maryland, which is that the death penalty is ineffective, it's expensive, and that the dollars could be better used to save lives by improving public safety in ways that we know work."
O'Malley has previously questioned the morality of the death penalty, saying in a Jan. 15 speech that the "way forward is always found through greater respect for the human dignity of all."
Year after year, states which have a death penalty have actually had a higher murder rate than states which do not have a death penalty. That would seem to indicate to me that the death penalty, again, does not work as a deterrent...
So who do we choose to be? In whose company to we choose to walk forward? Will we be a society guided by the notion that two wrongs somehow make a right?
Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Jessica Testa at email@example.com.
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