On Friday, Maryland lawmakers voted to repeal the death penalty. The ban was passed by the Maryland General Assembly and now awaits the stamp of approval from Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley, who has been pushing for the measure since taking office in 2007. When O’Malley signs off on the ban, Maryland will become the 18th state to end capital punishment.
Within the past six years, five other U.S. states have abolished execution, including New Jersey, New York, and New Mexico. Supporters of the ban argue that the death penalty is costly, racially biased, and prone to error.
Five men await the death penalty in Maryland. Their sentence will be altered to life in prison when Governor O’Malley approves the ban next month.
Sarah Papantonio is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.