Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) will commute all remaining death sentences for those in the state’s prison system to life without parole, he announced Wednesday. Maryland’s General Assembly repealed the state’s death penalty in 2013 for all future convictions.
In a statement, O’Malley said, “In a representative government, state executions make every citizen a party to a legalized killing as punishment.” He noted that the legality of executing the four remaining death row inmates was in question and argued that “leaving these death sentences in place does not serve the public good of the people of Maryland — present or future.”
O’Malley, who signed the 2013 repeal into law, leaves office next month after serving the state’s maximum of two consecutive terms. Over his tenure, the state enacted marriage equality, created a state-level “DREAM” act to allow undocumented children to pay in-state tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities, banned several assault weapons, and incentivized off-shore wind power.
Maryland’s governor-elect, Republican Larry Hogan, said in the campaign that he would have voted against repealing the state’s death penalty, but that he does not plan to attempt to reinstate it.
Maryland was the 18th state to repeal its capital punishment law.