Hearing on Md. death penalty rules set next month
Maryland lawmakers have scheduled a hearing on proposed death penalty regulations, a long-delayed step along the way to the possible resumption of executions in the state.
Use of the death penalty was halted by the state's highest court in December 2006, a month before Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) took office, pending new regulations from the administration spelling out procedures for lethal injection and other issues.
O'Malley instead lobbied the legislature to repeal capital punishment, and his administration waited until 2009 -- after those efforts fell short for a third year in a row -- to propose new regulations.
A legislative review panel headed by two Democrats opposed to capital punishment has now scheduled a hearing on the regulations on Feb. 16. Several powerful lawmakers, including Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) have urged the panel -- known as the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review -- to act.
Any action by the review panel does not need approval of the House or Senate, and technically the panel's role is only advisory. If he wanted to, O'Malley could put the recommendations in place over the panel's objections.
O'Malley has said he thinks it is important for the legislature to weigh in, however.
There are five inmates on death row in Maryland.
| January 20, 2011; 4:07 PM ET
Categories: General Assembly, Governor, John Wagner
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