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Maryland is set to become the 18th U.S. state to ban the death penalty.
USA Today reported that the state’s House of Delegates announced the decision last week with a 82-56 vote.
The measure itself will be signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley in April. He proposed the ban in 2007 when he first took office.
"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," he said. "What's more, there is no way to reverse a mistake if an innocent person is put to death."
While news of the ban has been championed by the NAACP and the Catholic Church, opponents of the ban may petition the bill to a referendum for the upcoming 2014 election, according to The Baltimore Sun. According to polls, only a slight majority of voters still support the death penalty.
As of now, there are five men on death row in Maryland for murders, dating as far back as 1983. Their sentences are likely to be commuted to life imprisonment.