Maryland to abolish the death penalty
In a bit of good news right before the weekend, Maryland will likely become the 18th state to abolish the death penalty. Today, the General Assembly voted to approve a measure to ban capital punishment, which now just needs the signature of Governor Martin O'Malley, who is expected to sign.
Maryland hasn't had an execution since 2005. The governor has the option of commuting the sentences to life in prison of all five men currently on Maryland's death row.
As many news outlets have pointed out, Maryland has a large Catholic population, and the church stands in opposition to the death penalty.
Update: For more on Catholic connections to this work, check out this article from National Catholic Reporter.