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ACLU Statement on Maryland Governor Signing Death Penalty Repeal
NEW YORK - May 2 - Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley today signed Senate Bill 276 into law, making Maryland the 18th state to abolish the death penalty and the first state below the Mason-Dixon Line to do so. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Maryland actively campaigned for an end to the death penalty in the state.
"Today is a great day for justice," said Tanya Greene, policy and advocacy counsel for the ACLU. "We commend the legislature and the governor on their decision to end state-sponsored homicide in Maryland. This law is a significant step forward given the racial bias endemic in use of the death penalty nationwide."
Statistics have shown that the death penalty in the U.S. is applied largely based on how much money defendants have, the skill of their attorneys, the race of the victim, and where the crime took place. Since 1973, over 140 people have been released from death rows in 26 states because there were found to be innocent.
More information on the death penalty is available here.