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Capital Punishment at the State Capitol

The campaign to repeal the death penalty in Maryland is bringing a few high-profile visitors to the state:

David Kaczynski, brother of Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, has met with a lawmaker to try to persuade him to vote to repeal capital punishment, as New Jersey did this month. Suspense novelist Scott Turow, another death penalty opponent, will be coming in to talk to legislators.

But the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which killed the repeal bill last session, still has the same 11 members and there's little evidence they've changed their minds.

"The burden of proof on changing the law is on those who want the law changed, and I've not yet been convinced to vote for a full repeal," said Sen. Alex X. Mooney (R-Frederick), who was considered the swing vote on the committee last session. Mooney, a Catholic, has said he is conflicted about the issue.

Jane Henderson, executive director of Maryland Citizens Against State Executions, said she remains optimistic about repeal prospects during the coming session, however.

"There's movement," Henderson said. "There are people leaning our way who may not say so before session. . . . We're going to continue to push. It's no longer a question of 'if' in Maryland. It's a question of 'when.' "

By Phyllis Jordan  |  December 26, 2007; 12:48 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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