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Maryland Governor Signs Death Penalty Repeal

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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.

On Thursday Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed a bill passed earlier this year by the General Assembly that does away with capital punishment in the state. With his signature, Maryland becomes the sixth state in as many years to repeal the death penalty, and once the legislation takes effect in October, 18 states across the nation will have opted out of its use.

"With the legislation signed today, Maryland has effectively eliminated a policy that is proven not to work. Evidence shows that the death penalty is not a deterrent, it cannot be administered without racial bias, and it costs three times as much as life in prison without parole. Furthermore, there is no way to reverse a mistake if an innocent person is put to death," said O'Malley's office in a statement announcing the bill's signing.

Despite the bill's passage, five men still remain on death row in the state, and they could still be executed if they exhaust all their appeals and O'Malley does not exercise his right to 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.

Death penalty supporters are not giving up, though, and have scheduled an announcement in Baltimore today. Republican Delegate Neil Parrott and Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger will speak the press conference. Parrott is chairman of MDPetitions.com, a website that has helped get other issues passed by the General Assembly in front of voters via referendum. He has already sent language for a potential petition on the death penalty to the state board of elections so it can check it. If he chooses to move forward, he would have to gather over 55,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

WAMU 88.5

Auction Of Artifacts In Paris Stirs Protest At American Indian Museum In D.C.

"It's almost like seeing one of our own tribal members being auctioned off," says a member of California's Hoopa tribe who denounced the auction during an event at the National Museum of the American Indian.

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D.C.'s Public Schools Select New Lunch Providers

D.C. Public Schools is abandoning longtime school food provider Chartwells in the wake of allegations of poor food quality and fraud and moving forward with new vendors for 2016. But, questions remain about the selection process and future oversight.

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Creating A D.C. State Constitution

We explore the historic process of crafting a constitution for D.C. statehood nearly three decades after the last attempt, and find out how drafters are preparing for the June constitutional convention.

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Reports Peg Tech Billionaire As Funder Of Hulk Hogan's Case Against Gawker

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel is said to be bankrolling the ex-wrestler's lawsuit. Gawker is appealing a jury verdict that awarded Hogan $140 million over the 2012 publication of a sex tape.

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