News Release ~ 01/22/2003

Maryland death penalty moratorium evaporates to bolster political position of new governor

State''s own study, plus those in Illinois, Ohio, ignored  

Washington, DC (January 22, 2003) -- In response to today''s news that a Maryland judge has signed or will soon sign a death warrant for Steven Oken, thereby bringing a de facto end to Maryland''s eight-month-old moratorium on the death penalty, Lawrence Goldman, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, issued the following statement:

"Before his own seat is even warm, Maryland''s new governor has announced he will keep his campaign promise to lift his predecessor''s moratorium on the imposition of the death penalty with the flippant comment by his spokesperson, ''Consider the moratorium over.''

"We perhaps should not be surprised, but in light of the independent study in his own state showing serious racial and geographic disparity in the imposition of the death penalty and the recent exposition in Illinois of all that is wrong with it, we certainly are dismayed." 

Goldman is a criminal defense lawyer in New York City. He can be reached at (212)997-7499.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 10,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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