Saturday, 27 January 2007

Abolition Bills Introduced in Two States

Abolition Bills Introduced in Two States

Karl Keys reports that death penalty abolition bills have been introduced in Maryland and South Dakota.

In Maryland today a bill to repeal its death penalty and replace it with life without parole was introduced and has been co-sponsored by about 1/4 of the state’s delegates and senators. AP’s report is here.Governor Martin O’Malley says he’d sign the measure into law — if it passes the House and Senate. O’Malley says he believes the state wastes a lot of money pursuing a policy that “doesn’t work to reduce crime or save lives.”

In South Dakota legislation was introduced today to abolish the death penalty in that state. This AP report has more.

In light of the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission's recommendation that capital punishment be abolished in the state -- a recommendation backed by the governor and key legislative leaders -- similar legislation will be introduced in the Garden State. NJADP will be the place to watch for legislative news.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled existing death penalty laws unconstitutional in the 1972 case Furman v. Georgia, a total of 38 states rewrote capital punishment laws. New laws were found to be constitutional through a thread of cases that began with Gregg v. Georgia in 1976. It appears that several states may now be poised to be the first to repeal capital punishment laws.

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