Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Md. Senate panel weighs expanded death penalty

A Senate panel on Wednesday revisited legislation passed last year by the General Assembly that made Maryland's death penalty one of the most restrictive in the nation.

A bill considered by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty on the basis of fingerprint evidence or photographs linking a suspect to a murder.

Last year's legislation limited capital cases to those that include at least one of three types of evidence: DNA or biological evidence; a videotaped confession; or a videotape linking the suspect to the crime.

Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger (D) argued at Wednesday's hearing that death penalty cases should be able to be brought on the basis of fingerprints and photographs as well.

"It makes no logical sense to exclude these two classes of evidence," Shellenberger said.

But opponents of this year's bill, sponsored by Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr. (D-Baltimore County), argued that neither fingerprints nor photos are as reliable as the other evidence that was included in last year's compromise.

Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy (D) told the panel he would not prosecute a death penalty case solely based on fingerprint evidence.

Last year's legislation grew out of Gov. Martin O'Malley's unsuccessful push to repeal the death penalty. The Senate heavily amended the bill sought by O'Malley (D) to allow capital punishment to continue but only in cases that meet the higher evidentiary standards.

Stone's bill is supported by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) but its prospects remain uncertain. The committee has not indicated when it will vote on the bill.


By Anne Bartlett  |  March 10, 2010; 3:51 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly , John Wagner  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: First Click -- Maryland
Next: First Click Maryland: Join the (Facebook) party

Comments

"It makes no logical sense to exclude these two classes of evidence," Shellenberger said.

+++++++++++++

No logical sense unless you are an implacable opponent of capital punishment pretending otherwise for the sake of politics. Those who oppose this bill without acknowledging frankly that they oppose the death penalty in any and all cases simply confirm how many of our legislators are, plainly, liars.

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | March 10, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

"It makes no logical sense to exclude these two classes of evidence," Shellenberger said.

++++++++++++++++++
No sense unless you are a foe of capital punishment pretending, for the sake of politics, otherwise. Those pols who oppose this bill without acknowledging that they are implacably opposed to the death penalty in any and all cases are living proof that many of Maryland's legislators are plainly dishonest.

As for Mr. McCarthy, no one is suggesting, or requiring, that you seek the death penalty on the "sole basis" of a fingerprint. What is being argued is that photographs are no less incontrovertible than videotape as a class of evidence, that DNA evidence is not meaningfully less reliable than a fingerprint, and that prosecutors should not be the ones wearing political handcuffs.

Let us all pray that you never become Attorney General of Maryland.

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | March 10, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Whens the last time someone was actually held responsible for their crimes in Maryland?? Especially Montgomery County. "Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy (D) told the panel he would not prosecute a death penalty case solely based on fingerprint evidence." They don't even prosecute for the death penalty when the crime occurred in front of them.

Posted by: kenayers1 | March 10, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

This would be great for all the blood thirsty, knee jerking demagogues out there. Every piece of rational analysis says capital punishment makes no sense, but why let that get in the way of a good old fashioned lynching.

Posted by: vmax02rider | March 10, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company