In a statement released late last week, Ben Jealous, NAACP president and CEO, said a major milestone for which the Maryland NAACP had worked toward for more than a century, had been accomplished.
“Thank you Gov. [Martin] O’Malley, Lt. Governor [Anthony] Brown, and the bill sponsors and supporters in the House and Senate that showed the backbone and moral clarity to end this injustice,’ Jealous said of the March 15 bill passage. “Tomorrow we will wake up in a state where we will never again have to worry if someone is put to death because of their color, class or in spite of their innocence.”
Gerald Stansbury, president of the Maryland State Conference NAACP, added that the state had joined 17 other states and most of the Western world in banning the death penalty.
“Thanks to the hard work of the Maryland CASE, Family Victims, and all the other organizations that joined the NAACP in making this historic day possible,” Stansbury said. “This decision will make our justice system fairer and more effective. I hope it will inspire leaders in other states to follow suit.”
The repeal bill passed by a vote of 82 to 56. The Maryland Senate has already passed the bill. With Maryland, six states have repealed the death penalty in the last six years and Maryland becomes the first state under the Mason-Dixon line to repeal the death penalty.
The NAACP is also working in Colorado and Delaware where legislation to repeal the death penalty was introduced a week ago.