Maryland State Commission Begins Review Of Death Penalty


A Maryland commission appointed to study the death penalty began its work yesterday by hearing testimony on statistical evidence of racial, geographic and socioeconomic disparities in different states’ imposition of death sentences, reports the Baltimore Sun. University professors, a former judge and statisticians from across the country appeared before the panel, which is assigned to offer recommendations to the General Assembly to ensure the administration of capital punishment in Maryland is “free from bias and error” and capable of achieving “fairness and accuracy.”

In the most emotional testimony of the more than four-hour hearing, the brother of the Unabomber and the brother of a Marine convicted of killing an elderly woman during a flashback from his service in Vietnam offered accounts of their starkly different experiences with the criminal justice system. Although both murder cases were eligible for capital prosecution, Ted Kaczynski was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for mail bombings that killed three people and injured 23, and Manny Babbitt was executed for the fatal beating of a Sacramento, Calif., woman. “This can’t be happening in America,” said David Kaczynski, executive director of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty. “The death penalty is not made for people like [Bill Babbitt]’s brother.”


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