“The majority of Virginians think that for the most heinous of offenses the death penalty is an appropriate sanction for the jury to consider,” he said. “We have the appeals process in place to make sure that we get it right.”
Abolishing the death penalty
Nonetheless, lawmakers in Virginia and other states have made recent calls to repeal the death penalty. The practice has been abolished in 17 states and the District, with five of those states — New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Connecticut and Illinois — banning it in the past five years.
Maryland lawmakers are expected to consider a ban next year, although the state has executed just five people since 1976 and none since 2005.
The state's highest court placed a moratorium on executions in 2006 after deciding that the state’s regulations on lethal injections were outdated, and a 2009 law now requires biological evidence, videotaped confessions or conclusive video evidence for the death penalty to be applicable.
Death penalty supporters have called the law an effective ban, but opponents say it is time for an official repeal.
“We should get it off the books,” said Delegate Samuel I. Rosenberg, Baltimore Democrat who has proposed past bills to repeal the death penalty. “The possibility of executing an innocent person, the extraordinary time, effort and resources that go into death penalty cases can be used elsewhere.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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