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Posted at 4:07 PM ET, 01/20/2011

Hearing on Md. death penalty rules set next month

By John Wagner

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.

By John Wagner  | January 20, 2011; 4:07 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly, Governor, John Wagner  
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It is one thing for Maryland's politicians to be true believers in the death penalty but what do they have to say to those innocent individuals who are convicted, held in on death row and then executed. I bet they haven't given any thought to protecting the innocent.

They might believe that state murders are good for the soul but, once again, what responsibility do they take when the state kills innocent people?

Americans have a punitive attitude to the convicted. They like to hurt them and when they do so they use language that moralises.

Not one of these politicians has anything to say to the families of the innocent whose killing they supported. They do not rush to offer help or to apologise or to offer compensation.

Oh, I just remembered, state killings must be one reason why Americans proclaim that America is the world's greatest nation.

Posted by: robertjames1 | January 21, 2011 5:33 AM | Report abuse

The postponing of the death penalty sure didn't have any effect on the 14 murders in P.G. Co. did it? Of the five that are on death row how many have had all their appeals heard?

Gang bangers know they are in an orgainzation that kills people so they condone it. Therefore when there is a drive-by and some innocent gets killed don't use the excuse "I didn't mean to kill." The INTENT to KILL SOMEBODY ELSE was there. Therefore there WAS INTENT TO KILL.

What's wrong with killing the killers?

Posted by: doughboy96 | January 21, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

robertjames I've never heard of one person in the entire country being executed, and then later found out to be innocent. So WTH are you talking about?

Posted by: red2million | January 21, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

How many murdered people have been brought back to life by murdering someone else?

How much does it cost (including legal and court costs) for the state to murder someone versus life in prison without parole? How much does the state make back if they are given labor along with their sentence?

Posted by: obcat | January 21, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

we know the death penalty wont bring back the dead, but why should a killer be allowed to live at all? let his family feel the same pain he caused others!

Posted by: astroman215aolcom | January 21, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

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