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Maryland Governor to Be Honored for Fight Against Death Penalty

Gov. Martin O'Malley will be in California tonight to receive the Mario Cuomo Acts of Courage Award from abolitionists Death Penalty Focus.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will be honored for his work to repeal the death penalty. Patch file photo.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will be honored for his work to repeal the death penalty. Patch file photo.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is scheduled to accept 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.

"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," said Chelsea Bond, program director of Death Penalty Focus, which describes itself as one of the world's largest organizations solely dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty.

"However, it still requires leadership to change a long-established law. Governor O'Malley displayed true leadership by not only signing the legislation, but making death penalty repeal a top legislative priority. 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 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. "What are they going to get? Another life sentence? They've already got a life sentence."

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

Melinda Bedard April 15, 2014 at 05:00 PM
That jackass shouldn't be honored for anything! He has done nothing but make Maryland one of the most taxed states in the nation! We need to bring back the death penalty and go back to the electric chair. Lethal injection is too good for most of the animals that commit heinous crimes! He is an embarrassment for the state of Maryland.
TIM GORDON April 16, 2014 at 07:55 AM
WHATS REALLY SCAREY IS THAT HE WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT. WE CANNOT COMPARE OUR STATE WITH TEXAS AS THEY ARE REPUBICAN AND WE ARE LIBERAL DEMOCRATES. REALLY. BUT I LOVE THIS STATE AND WHERE I LIVE IN DUNDALK. I PRAY FOR OUR LEADERS AS THEY SURE NEED WISDOM.
PH April 16, 2014 at 11:45 AM
All well said comments. A murder victim is dead. The perpetrator gets to live, albeit in prison. An eye for an eye is still the way it should be.
Dennis Gilpin April 16, 2014 at 12:50 PM
If his administration get a lot of support ( votes ) from Baltimore city and there are a lot of criminals charged with murder in Jail, makes sense that the families who are connected to the killers would want to keep their relatives alive. Votes count right ? Baltimore is one of the most violent cities in America. Keeping the deterrent on the books helps to protect the good citizens of Baltimore city. Taking it off the books protects who ? I think the Mayor of Baltimore, along with their support staff wants to change which had been going on for some time. It will take time and dedication. The governor points out that there are problems in Baltimore but neglects to say nothing changed when he was the cities mayor.

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