The Baltimore Sun reports that the Maryland Senate is nearing a compromise on the death penalty to change the law to only apply the death penalty in murder cases in which there is DNA evidence, a video recording of the defendant committing the crime, or a voluntary, videotaped confession. Governor O’Malley, as I have written before, appears to have a moral conviction on this issue, appears willing to accept the compromise.
I think the compromise is focused on avoiding executing an innocent man and this bill I certainly think helps accomplish this goal. I question the policy of singling out people who confess. Do we really want to put to death people that confess? I don’t think killers necessarily act rationally, but do we really want to put in incentives to confess? What would a murderer have to lose by just sticking it out at that point? But, practically, I think if this bill passes it will be the end of the death penalty in Maryland.
Not that anyone cares what my view is because everyone has their own conviction on whether Maryland should have a death penalty. But I’ll tell you anyway: I hate the death penalty and I’m glad Maryland is moving away from it and joining the rest of the civilized world.