“At a time when there are calls for criminal justice reform, it is important to ensure any reforms are based on sound research and data-driven, fact-based information. Calls for re-establishment of the death penalty in Maryland are not based on the aforementioned.” — Karl Bickel
Karl Bickel, a career law enforcement officer and former proponent of the death penalty, has offered a well-researched argument against making any exception to the repeal of Maryland’s death penalty, implemented in 2013. The state has opted for life in prison without the possibility of parole for its worst offenders. House Bill 881, introduced on February 6, 2017, calls for an exception for first-degree murder cases in which the victim is a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or first responder.
A key issue for Bickel is avoiding the risk of wrongful conviction and execution of an innocent.
Bickel is retired from the Department of Justice, and has been a major city police officer, an assistant professor, and second in command of the Frederick County (MD) Sheriff’s Office.
Read his commentary here.
The National Registry of Exonerations has identified 116 cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death, before being exonerated.