In Baltimore on May 2, Governor Martin O’Malley signed legislation removing the death penalty from the penal code in Maryland. This jurisdiction which has had captial punishment in place for most of the past 300 years now becomes the 18th state without it.
“This is another major victory in the march to abolition in this nation,” said Rev. Patrick Delahanty, chair of the Kentucky Coalition. “This action further isolates Kentucky in being one of only a few remaining jurisdictions that have yet to end the use of the death penalty.”
“A growing chorus of mothers, ministers, neighbors, police officers, retail workers and teachers are making it possible for us have a different conversation about how we respond to violence and support those who are harmed by it. These people are like you and me, going about their daily lives and believing that a world without the death penalty is not only possible but desirable,” stated Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition.
Concerns about Kentucky’s administration of the death penalty were highlighted in a December 2011 report that described a 60% error rate in the state and indicated how arbitrary and haphazard is the process here. Lawmakers are demonstrating a heightened concern about all these flaws which undermine the credibility of Kentucky’s justice system.
KCADP recently employed Shekinah Lavalle as an Outreach Coordinator to help build the organization and raise the volume of opposition to its use in Kentucky. She begins working on May 20. We encourage readers to think of events, opportunities, for her to come out and speak to others about how they can become involved in ending the death penalty here.
Photos: courtesy Death Penalty Focus and Shekinah Lavalle