The governor of the eastern US state of Maryland said Tuesday he will present a bill to abolish the death penalty.
If the legislation passes, Maryland would become the 18th state in America to do away with capital punishment. The bill will be formally presented next week.
Governor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, said pursuing a capital case is three times as expensive as pursuing a non-death penalty homicide conviction and that the punishment does not deter crime.
“Every dollar we spend on an ineffective death penalty is a dollar we’re not spending on crime-fighting tools that actually work,” O’Malley told a news conference organized by the NAACP, a venerable advocacy group for African-Americans.
Maryland has not executed anyone or issued a death penalty conviction since 2005, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The state has five prisoners on death row.
O’Malley first came out against the death penalty in 2009, calling it intrinsically unfair.
He presented a bill that would abolish it, and divert to families of murder victims the money that would have gone to pursuing death penalty convictions. But the bill failed to gain passage.
O’Malley said most executions in the world take place in Iran, North Korea, China, Yemen and the United States, and questioned what company America wanted to keep on this issue.
Last year Connecticut became the 17th US state to abolish the death penalty. That raised to 29 the number of states that, either on paper or de facto, have renounced it, says the DPIC.