Is the Maryland Death Penalty Only for Treason?

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With a renewed struggle over the death penalty looming in the General Assembly, one public defender is arguing that capital punishment in Maryland is only for treason anyway. Brian Saccenti, representing a man convicted of a 1997 murder has offered the Court of Appeals the argument that Maryland’s constitution provides for capital punishment only for “crimes that threaten the stability of the state government.”

Article 16 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights states that “sanguinary Laws ought to be avoided as far as it is consistent with the safety of the State; and no Law to inflict cruel and unusual pains and penalties ought to be made in any case, or at any time, hereafter.”

Saccenti is taking that to mean that as long as keeping someone incarcerated is a viable option, the death penalty is off limits. What do you think?



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