“It will be a poignant issue if it goes to vote. Other states will be watching,” Dieter said.
He said that statistics from the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C., think-tank, show that each death sentence cost the state about $3 million during the lifetime of a case, while a capital punishment eligible case where prosecutors did not pursue the death penalty would cost the state about $1.1 million.
Gov. O’Malley also pointed out Tuesday that the United States was among five countries in the world that have the most executions. The others on the list, he said, are Iran, North Korea, China and Yemen.
The question, O’Malley said, is “Who do we as a people aspire to be?”
Among the supporters of death penalty repeal Tuesday were two men who were sentenced to death and were later set free.
Kirk Bloodsworth, a Maryland man who was convicted and sentenced to death in March 1985 for the rape and murder of a girl, was released from prison in 1993 after DNA evidence exonerated him. He spent two years on death row.
Shujaa Graham, who lives in Takoma Park, Md, was convicted of killing a prison guard in California in the mid-70s, but was freed after three and a half years on death row and four trials, according to a report.
Del. LeRoy Myers Jr., R-Allegany/Washington, who is for the death penalty, said that new technology, such as DNA testing, removes a lot of doubt surrounding some convictions.
Myers said he believed that the governor’s push on death penalty repeal was for a different reason.
“I believe that now that Gov. O’Malley is obviously term limited, he is now laying the framework for another office,” Myers said.
That office, Myers said, is the office of the United States President.
Maryland death penalty information
Current Death Row population: 5
Women on Death Row: 0
Date Death Penalty reinstated: 07/01/1975
Is life without parole an option? Yes
Source: Death Penalty Information Center
The Associated Press contributed to this report.