“The House of Delegates voted 82-56 to repeal Maryland’s death penalty on Friday, making the state the sixth in as many years to abolish executions and delivering a major legislative victory to Gov. Martin O’Malley.
The bill, which passed the Senate last week, now heads to the governor for his signature. O’Malley (D) has lobbied lawmakers for years to end capital punishment, and he put the full weight of his office behind it this session.
The House vote followed more than two hours of impassioned debate, in which repeal supporters argued that any risk of executing an innocent person is unacceptable and that the death penalty has been applied unfairly in the past.
Opponents of the bill countered that capital punishment can be an important law-enforcement tool and should be kept on the books for heinous cases.