Jane Henderson, executive director of Maryland Citizens Against State Executions, issued the following statement today:
"The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that the most common form of lethal injection does not violate the Constitution. This highly splintered ruling should not be seen as an endorsement of capital punishment. Indeed, one of the Court's members, Justice John Paul Stevens, expressed deep concerns about the death penalty in his concurring opinion. 'The time for a dispassionate, impartial comparison of the enormous costs that death penalty litigation imposes on society with the benefits that it produces has surely arrived,' Justice Stevens wrote.
"That is exactly where Maryland is heading. The General Assembly recently authorized a state Commission to study all aspects of the death penalty and report back late this year. The public discourse in our state has moved beyond splitting hairs about the best way to administer lethal injections.
"The Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment will look carefully at all aspects of the death penalty and how it is administered in the state. This review will look at critically important issues, such as the risk of executing innocent people, the high cost of the death penalty and the toll it takes on victims' families during drawn-out appeals. This review is long overdue and will provide guidance to policymakers beginning next January.
"Until then, executions in Maryland should remain on hold."