Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Capital punishment: Yes or no?

After three decades of its reinstatement, the death penalty is once again up for debate in the state of Maryland. A bill to end capital punishment in Maryland was introduced by Senate Lisa Gladden. Governor Martin O’Malley is an avid supporter of this idea saying, “the death penalty is inhumane, biased, fraught with errors and isn't a deterrent.”

Much of the Senate is unsure about passing the bill. They voted in favor of two amendments on Tuesday: to prohibit the death penalty in cases where there is only eyewitness testimony, and to limit the use of the death penalty to murder cases where DNA or a confession or conclusive videotaped evidence is obtained. O’Malley has been advised that this may be the closest to repeal that Maryland will receive.

Just last year, the governor commissioned a study on capital punishment in Maryland, which recommended its abolishment due to biases in cost, the possibility of an innocent person being executed and disparities. But death penalty opponent Sen. Jamie Raskin, who was a member of this commission, said this information was somewhat overlooked by the Senate.

Many citizens believe that the death penalty is justified by the “eye for an eye” rationale. Others believe that it is no one’s right to take the life of another, while some feel that the death penalty is a “cop out” and life in prison is far worse punishment.

Where do you stand? Do you agree with Governor O’Malley’s plan to end capital punishment or do you feel it is a valuable source of our justice system?

Renèe N. Gibson
Institutional Advancement Intern


Anonymous said...

I'm totally for it if Bernie Madoff qualifies.

Anonymous said...

Capital Punishment, is definitely a NO, for me! I am a criminal Justice major, and before I became one I was all for capital punishment, "Live by the sword, you die by the sword". Somehow, along the way, I would find that ciminals locked up behind bars is enough punishment itself. Though people complain about our tax dollars going towards housing "animals", no one is complaining about the billions of tax dollars that our government refuses to aid to communities to prevent senseless acts from occuring. The purpose the government will not help is because that means less jobs and status of power will be lost. Think about it, everything is a continous cycle so that the rich get richer and the poor stay poor. SO therefore, you create these conditions where the poor, or anyone who cannot afford the proper help with simple things as finding a job, may result in people turining to the streets committing crimes. Therefore, you create the problem then deal with it. Dont throw it away by brainwashing the world that we need Capital Punishment!!!

Kt said...

i was so excited to see this important issue being openly discussed once again. i wish that the senate had completely repealed this inhumane act of cruelty.

Anonymous said...

Capital punishment, NO!.I agree that this is not a deterrent to serious crimes. We have to start focusing on the mental state of these criminals, why they are committing such brutal crimes, etc. I neither believe that throwing them in jail and throwing away the key is the total answer. There is obviously something wrong with a persons state when they kill, lets try to find out what & create treatment if possible. Prevention is the key.

Anonymous said...

Of note is the fact that bill was allowed to go to the floor despite many strong opposers. It is a win-win for Gov. O'Malley because he can continue to put his name behind a cause he has singled out as worthwhile and simultaneously give the public something to focus on/ rally around other than the economy. Even a healthy debate is a win in this regard. The bill is more symbolic than actual, as it would not have hit the floor if the opposers, who control what gets floor time in this case, know that there are not enough votes for O'Malley to begin to dismantle the death penalty in Maryland.

Anonymous said...

I am against capital punishment.

uncler said...

It's not the threat of capital punishment that will lead to deterring crime. It is whether we will actualy start following through on that threat. Individuals sentenced to death lavish on death row for years and years at the tax payers expense. Maybe the vote should be to accelerate the time frame at which we actually start putting individuals to death. Then capital punishment, maybe can serve its purpose!

Anonymous said...

This is just a form of legalized killing. This is simply a cop out.
(This is an interesting topic, a friend and I were just having a debate about it.)

Jordan said...

It also should be noted that capital punishment in the majority of cases is actually more expensive in terms of what taxpayers and the state contribute than a life sentence would be. This is due to a costly appeals process and legal safeguards created to prevent false executions. Even the safeguards created, however, are far from fullproof. There are literally hundreds of exonerated death row inmates that have been released after years in prison.

I can not support a system that claims to seek justice, yet allows innocent people to be on death row for crimes they did not commit.