As the 2013 legislative session in Maryland approaches, citizens from across the state are convening to engage in dialog with communities and community leaders and provide information about Maryland’s failed death penalty system. Case Closed: A Death Penalty Forum will provide Prince George’s County citizens the opportunity to hear about this issue from speakers with direct experience such as former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey and murder victim family member Ricardo Wiggs. Leaders from the NAACP will also share perspectives. The event is open to the public.
- Glenn Ivey, former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney
- Ricardo Wiggs, Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center board member and husband of murdered wife
- John Comer, program director, Criminal Justice Department, NAACP
- Rion Dennis, regional field director, Mid-Atlantic Region, NAACP
- Bob Ross, president of the NAACP’s Prince George’s branch
- Bonnita Spikes, an advocate for victims and victims’ family members and field organizer for MD CASE
In Maryland, the race of the victim determines which crimes will evoke the ultimate punishment. Indeed, the victims were white in every Maryland murder that has resulted in an execution since the 1978 reinstatement of capital punishment and in all pending death sentences. The status quo is indefensible given that black Marylanders represent more than three-quarters of Maryland homicides year after year.
The Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment identified numerous problems with the state's death penalty system in 2008 and called for ending capital punishment. Among its findings, the commission concluded that racial disparities exist in Maryland's capital punishment system. It also cited the high cost of applying the death penalty and the toll it takes on the family members of murder victims.
The event is co-sponsored by the Maryland State Conference and the Prince George’s County Branch of the NAACP, Maryland Citizens Against State Executions, and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
The event will be held at the Ark of Safety Christian Church where Maryland State Senator C. Anthony Muse serves as bishop.