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O'Malley: 'The Death Penalty Doesn't Work'

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley accepted the Mario Cuomo Acts of Courage Award from Death Penalty Focus for sponsoring a bill repealing capital punishment.

Gov. Martin O'Malley. File|Patch
Gov. Martin O'Malley. File|Patch

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley accepted the Mario Cuomo Acts of Courage Award from Death Penalty Focus at its awards dinner Tuesday night in Beverly Hills, CA, for sponsoring a bill repealing capital punishment.

"We led with the truth that the death penalty doesn't work, but we also led with things that do work," O'Malley said at the dinner at The Beverly Hilton.

O'Malley "displayed true leadership by not only signing the legislation, but making death penalty repeal a top legislative priority," Chelsea Bond, program director of Death Penalty Focus, said before the dinner.

"Taking a stand against the death penalty is no longer the political third rail it once was, as politicians see now that ending the death penalty is a common-sense solution that saves money, protects innocent people from being executed, and upholds human rights," Bond said.

"However, it still requires leadership to change a long-established law. The national trend away from the death penalty would not be possible without the bold leadership of elected representatives like Governor O'Malley."

O'Malley's opposition to the death penalty drew criticism earlier this week from Maryland Delegate John W.E. Cluster Jr., R-Baltimore County, who called it a deterrent to murder, citing the sharply lower murder rates in Baltimore County, where prosecutors seek the death penalty, than in adjacent Baltimore, where they do not.

Cluster, a former police officer, sponsored an amendment to the bill to keep the death penalty for murdering a police officer while he or she was performing his duties and supported an amendment keeping the death penalty when an inmate kills a correctional officer.

"There's nothing deterring these prisoners from killing correctional officers," Cluster told City News Service in a telephone interview. "What are they going to get? Another life sentence? They've already got a life sentence."

O'Malley has said he is looking at the possibility of running for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

Death Penalty Focus describes itself as one of the world's largest organizations solely dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty.

The award is named for the former New York governor who vetoed multiple bills seeking to reinstate the death penalty "when it was politically unpopular to oppose the death penalty," and "refused to back down from his stance" when "opponents tried to use his opposition to the death penalty against him during campaigns," Bond said.

Cuomo was the first recipient of the award in 1996.

--City News Service

Michael April 19, 2014 at 10:08 PM
For those worried about executing an innocent person, there are drugs that will induce the truth from people. Unfortunately, using them on suspected criminals without their permission would be a civil rights violation. Plus, anything obtained, even with permission, is not admissible in court....just like information attained from a lie detector machine. Having a "Truth Inducement" law would save American taxpayers billions of dollars because we could immediately execute murderers and such instead of providing housing, feeding, health care, and paying for legal representation, for 10-15 years before they get a needle in the arm.
Buck Harmon April 20, 2014 at 08:13 AM
Big money being made by corporate prison systems keepin them alive for 10-15 years...bottom line.
Kolo Jezdec April 20, 2014 at 09:44 AM
"J. M. MacDonald, who as a psychiatrist for the District Courts of Denver has had extensive experience with narcoanalysis, says that drug interrogation is of doubtful value in obtaining confessions to crimes. Criminal suspects under the influence of barbiturates may deliberately withhold information, persist in giving untruthful answers, or falsely confess to crimes they did not commit. The psychopathic personality, in particular, appears to resist successfully the influence of drugs."***https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol5no2/html/v05i2a09p_0001.htm
Kolo Jezdec April 20, 2014 at 09:50 AM
" The problem with truth serums is the results can't be depended on. It's easy to find case reports of people recounting detailed stories under the influence of drugs of which they have no recollection afterward — and the stories check out. But researchers also admit despairingly that they know of just as many confessions that were demonstrably false. Drugs reduce some subjects to unintelligible babbling. Other subjects are suggestible and will tell you whatever they think you want to hear. Plus, just because somebody thinks something is true doesn't mean it is."
art doyle April 20, 2014 at 10:43 AM
Kolo, the problems with those solutions go even deeper. Even if the subject is telling the truth, they are only telling the truth as they remember it. Memory is very prejudicial. Four people watching the same event, when interviewed independently will virtually never agree on the details.

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