The repercussions of the death penalty, no matter the circumstance, are forever, Jane Henderson, executive director of Maryland Citizens Against State Executions, said at a press conference at Anne Arundel Community College on Friday.
“It is not reversible,” Henderson said.
A bill, limiting capital punishment by requiring biological or DNA evidence, videotaped confession, or videotape of crime, was passed March 26 by the General Assembly in place of repeal of the death penalty.
None of the evidence from the bill is applicable to four out of the five inmates currently on death row. There is one person on the row who maintains his innocence, she said.
“The problem is we can never be 100 percent sure,” Henderson said.
It took Baltimore County 10 years to acknowledge Kirk Bloodsworth, a white male sentenced to death for rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl, was innocent. DNA does not always correctly determine who is guilty, she said.
Some victims wish to get rid of the death penalty. Most victims’ families are thinking about how to get through the day rather than the death penalty, Henderson said.
“It [the death penalty] does not deter murder,” she said.
Capital punishment costs three times as much as life without parole, she said.
If resources used towards the death penalty were instead put into communities in which the murder happened, grief counselors could be brought into counties, such as Baltimore County, and murders could be prevented, Henderson said.
Maryland CASE was established in the 1980’s in effort to ban execution for juveniles and the mentally retarded, and is still fighting today to repeal the death penalty, she said.
“My personal position is if you give the state the power to kill…it is going to be abused,” Henderson said.