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O'Malley To Sign Death Penalty Repeal Next Month

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The Maryland General Assembly passed a repeal of the death penalty in the state in March.
Matt Bush
The Maryland General Assembly passed a repeal of the death penalty in the state in March.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will sign the repeal of the death penalty in the state into law early next month.

A spokeswoman for O'Malley confirmed on the governor plans to sign the repeal into law at a bill-signing ceremony on May 2. Maryland will become the 18th state to ban the death penalty. Connecticut did so last year. Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York also have abolished it in recent years.

Maryland has five men on death row. The measure would not apply to them retroactively, but the legislation makes clear the governor can commute their sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole. O'Malley has said he will consider them on a case-by-case basis.

The state's last execution took place in 2005, during Republican governor Bob Ehrlich's administration.

Supporters of the eath penalty are still considering whether to push for a voter referendum on the measure next year.

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