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O’Malley meets with NAACP leader on death-penalty repeal legislation


NAACP President Benjamin Jealous talks to reporters at the Maryland State House in Annapolis on Thursday. (Brian Witte — Associated Press)

Benjamin T. Jealous, the president of the NAACP, said Thursday that he is confident that Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) will be “standing with us” in a bid to repeal Maryland’s death penalty in the coming legislative session.

The assessment followed a meeting with O’Malley in Annapolis. The NAACP is targeting Maryland as part of an ongoing effort to abolish capital punishment.

O’Malley has long favored repeal of the death penalty but has not said whether he intends to sponsor legislation to accomplish that aim in the 90-day legislative session that starts Jan. 9.

O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory characterized the meeting with Jealous and other NAACP leaders as “very good” and “productive” but said a decision about sponsorship is still under discussion.

Jealous said that the governor asked advocates of repeal to build support in coming weeks.

“He has good energy on this issue,” Jealous said.

O’Malley last sponsored a repeal bill in 2009. Lawmakers instead passed legislation tightening evidentiary standards in capital cases.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

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