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Maryland governor signs death penalty repeal

By Joe Sutton, CNN
May 2, 2013 -- Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • There are five men currently on Maryland's death row
  • The governor signs a bill repealing the death penalty in Maryland
  • The state instead will seek sentences of life without possibility of parole

(CNN) -- Maryland's governor signed a bill Thursday repealing the death penalty.

The legislation goes into effect October 1.

In those cases in which the state has filed a notice to seek a death sentence, "the notice shall be considered withdrawn and it shall be considered a notice to seek a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole under specified circumstances," according to a press release from the office of Gov. Martin O'Malley .

O'Malley's office said Maryland is the 18th state to repeal the death penalty,

"Maryland has effectively eliminated a policy that is proven not to work. Evidence shows that the death penalty is not a deterrent, it cannot be administered without racial bias, and it costs three times as much as life in prison without parole," the office said in a statement.

"Furthermore, there is no way to reverse a mistake if an innocent person is put to death. Working together with law enforcement partners, Maryland has driven down violent crime and homicides to three decade lows."

Five men currently are on Maryland's death row, and O'Malley so far has not commuted their sentences.

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