The Slatest

Maryland Gov. to Commute State’s Last Remaining Death Row Inmates’ Sentences

A prison guard escorts a detainee at the Adelanto Detention Facility in California.  

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said on Wednesday he would commute the sentences of the last four remaining death row prisoners in the state. O’Malley, who is weeks from the end of his second and final term as the state’s governor, will reduce the death sentences to life without parole.

“In my judgment, leaving these death sentences in place does not serve the public good of the people of Maryland — present or future,” O’Malley said in a statement. “Gubernatorial inaction — at this point in the legal process — would, in my judgment, needlessly and callously subject survivors, and the people of Maryland, to the ordeal of an endless appeals process, with unpredictable twists and turns, and without any hope of finality or closure.”

The move means Maryland will no longer have any prisoners on death row. Maryland last executed an inmate in 2005. The state outlawed the death penalty nearly two years ago, but the repeal of capital punishment did not apply to prisoners already sentenced to death.