The Death Penalty in Baltimore County, Maryland

Baltimore County sentences more people to death than any other county in Maryland.

Former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening commissioned a major report in 2000 in response to concerns that the state’s death penalty is meted out unfairly according to race and jurisdiction. Finally released in 2003, this exhaustive study proves that prosecutors in Baltimore County seek the death penalty far more often than prosecutors in any other of Maryland’s counties. Of the ten men currently on Maryland’s death row, seven of the ten were convicted of crimes committed in Baltimore County. This means that, despite the fact that less than 10% of all homicides in Maryland occur in Baltimore County, this same small area accounts for 70% of all death row sentences in the state.

The death penalty is racially biased in Baltimore County.

The 2003 study on the Maryland death penalty looked at nearly 6,000 homicides from 1978-1999 and proved that race affects the way death penalty cases are handled in Maryland. The study concluded that Maryland state’s attorneys are significantly more likely to seek a death sentence when the race of the victim is white. Specifically, the study showed that Blacks who kill Whites are twice as likely to get a death sentence as Whites who kill Whites, and that Blacks who kill Whites are four times as likely to get a death sentence as Blacks who kill Blacks. In Maryland, 85% of homicide victims are Black, yet 100% of the men sentenced to die in Maryland, were convicted of killing a White person. In Baltimore County specifically, the majority of murder victims are again Black, yet of the seven men sentenced to die for crimes committed in Baltimore County, all seven were convicted of killing a White person.

Baltimore County sentences innocent people to death.

Kirk Bloodsworth asserted his innocence from the day he was arrested in Baltimore County in 1984; however he was still sentenced to die for a crime he did not commit. In 1992, Mr. Bloodsworth became the first death row inmate in the United States exonerated due to D.N.A. evidence. Kenny Collins is currently on Maryland’s death row for a crime committed in Baltimore County, despite that fact that he was convicted without any physical evidence and that the star witness in his trial has now admitted that he lied during the trial in order to convict Kenny. We may never know how people, whether convicted in Baltimore County, or anywhere else in this country, are sitting on death row completely innocent.

For more information:
You can contact the Washington D.C. Chapter about getting involved: [email protected], or phone (202) 271-8014.


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