Crime Reduction & Prevention
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[Death-row inmate Jody Lee] Miles is seeking to have his sentence changed in the wake of the General Assembly’s repeal of the death penalty last year. The legislature’s action did not directly affect the sentences of the four remaining men on Maryland’s death row, but Gansler argued that the state is “no longer legally or factually able to carry out” executions…
[T]he state would like to convert Miles’s sentence to life without the possibility of parole, which he said is “in effect a death sentence.” Miles is seeking a new sentence of life with the possibility of parole…
Maryland has not had regulations in place since late 2006 on how to execute prisoners through lethal injections. A court found the protocols had not been properly adopted, and the administration of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) — a death penalty opponent — never implemented new rules.
With the death penalty no longer on the books, the state cannot develop new regulations on carrying out executions, even under a new governor, Gansler said. Keeping Miles on death row, Gansler argued, therefore violates his due-process rights.
“Based on my specialized knowledge of this process, I now conclude that the death penalty as a form of punishment should be abolished because the execution of individuals does not appear to measurably advance the retribution and deterrence purposes served by the death penalty; the life without parole option adequately protects society at large in the same way as the death penalty punishment option; and the risk of executing an innocent person for a capital murder is unreasonably high, particularly in light of procedural-default laws and the prevalence of ineffective trial and initial habeas counsel.”
– Judge Tom Price, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals; Ex parte Panetti (No. WR-37,145-04), in his 11/26/14 dissent of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals’ denial of Mr. Scott Panetti’s writ seeking to halt his scheduled execution. The 5th Circuit halted the execution on 12/3/14, acknowledging the “complex legal questions at issue,” presumably that of imposing the death penalty on someone with severe mental illness.
Today, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published the interactive map below, showing the imprisonment rate’s enormous growth in each and every state (there isn’t one state that hasn’t seen substantial growth).