The following was received from Del. Rick Impallaria’s office:
I want to first thank all of you for taking the time to read and keep informed about what is happening in Annapolis through my Updates.
Before going into the death penalty issue, I’d like to give you a little background on myself. I am the father of four and recently had my first grandchild. I am a practicing Roman Catholic and a strong pro-life supporter. I deeply respect the decision of our forefathers who strongly believed that morality and the belief in God is the true backbone and best basis of our freedoms and our republic. And that belief, for those who have it, teaches us that man is far from perfect. If we were perfect, there would be no need for laws at all. But since we are not, and we do need to have laws as given to us in the Ten Commandments, then the penalties should clearly be fit the crime for which they have been prescribed.
The death penalty is not the harshest penalty that we, as human beings, face. The harshest penalty is the unjustified murders that take place on our streets and in our communities every day. When people tell me that the death penalty is not used very often, I explain to them that the death penalty is administered every single day on the streets of Baltimore. It is administered swiftly and without any respect for the victim, for the death penalty is applied in Baltimore only by the criminal thugs who run the streets.
There was a long debate yesterday and, taking into consideration all I have said, I will tell you I voted against the so-called death penalty bill that was in the House today. Not because I don’t support the death penalty, but because this bill is clearly a de facto repeal of the death penalty. In a way, it is lying to the public — having a death penalty on the books which has almost no chance of being applied. As this bill is written, the chance of someone getting the death penalty is even less than getting hit by lighning on a sunny day while hiding under the bed inside a house. I voted for numerous amendments to strengthen and put the death penalty back to its previous position. But the bill which passed today permits the death penalty only if they have video evidence clearly showing the person committing the murder along with DNA evidence and a written confession. There is not one single person on death row, nor has there been in the past 20 years, who would meet these
For example, if a police officer eyewitnessed a murder, had the gun with the fingerprints all over it, and arrested the person at the murder scene, this would not, under the new bill, be grounds for the death penalty. This bill is totally absurd. It is my feeling that, if there is something wrong with the death penalty, we need to fix it, not weaken it; not do away with it, but correct the problem. And the main problem is that certain jurisdictions will not seek the death penalty for a perpetrator, regardless of how heinous the crime. Those jurisdictions are the problem. We should not be lowering our standards to theirs. Instead, we should have a single death penalty court that will handle all cases, and all cases should be treated the same, regardless of where they occur in the State of Maryland.
That is why I voted against this horrible piece of legislation.
I started this update talking about my family. I hope you will pray for our families, our children and grandchildren, and pray that Maryland’s legislators start making correct decisions for the State. Because if, God forbid, one of these horrible, heinous crimes is committed against a family member, and the punishment is not there, it would be devastating to know that one day the perpetrator not only would be out on the street, but, thanks to a law passed two years ago, he would even have the privilege of voting upon completion of his prison term.
Delegate, District 7