Earlier today, the Maryland senate voted 27-20 to repeal the death penalty in that state. The repeal bill, which is a top priority for Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), will now move on to the state house, where it appears likely to pass. The bill has 67 co-sponsors in the house, and only 71 are needed for it to pass.
This bill reflects a growing national trend away from the death penalty in states that are not Texas or a handful of other, mostly Southern states. As the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution forbids “cruel and unusual punishments,” Maryland’s bill also brings the death penalty one step closer to being declared unconstitutional, as the Constitution explicitly states that punishments that are increasingly “unusual” stand on increasingly weaker constitutional footing.