O'MALLEY'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE PLAN: ABOLISH DEATH PENALTY, RECLASSIFY MARIJUANA
July 31, 2015: Martin O'Malley unveiled his proposals for overhauling the nation's criminal justice system, vowing to reform police departments, abolish the death penalty and address overcrowding in prisons.
"America's criminal justice system is badly in need of reform. For too long, our justice system has reinforced our country's cruel history of racism and economic inequality," O'Malley, the former Maryland governor, wrote in a detailed policy paper.
If elected, O'Malley also vowed to restore felons' voting rights and downgrade marijuana's Drug Enforcement Agency schedule, which currently classifies the drug among such substances as heroin and ecstasy.
"All those who served time and re-entered society should be allowed to vote," according to the white paper. "O'Malley will call for and strongly support legislation restoring voting rights to individuals with felony record."
On marijuana, the white paper said O'Malley would "direct the attorney general to move to reclassify marijuana, while supporting bipartisan congressional efforts to legislatively reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug."
O'Malley abolished the death penalty in 2013 in Maryland while he served as governor. His white paper called the death penalty a "racially biased and ineffective deterrent."
"As president, he will continue to oppose capital punishment and work to abolish death sentences under federal laws," the paper reads.
Most national polls show the governor lagging far behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- who herself has focused considerable time on criminal justice reform -- and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. (Sources: cnn, 01/08/2015)