Governor Martin O’Malley attempts to repeal the death penalty in Maryland
Last prisoner executed under Republican Robert Ehrlich as technicalities and inaction thus far keeps law at arms length
Martin O’Malley, the newly re-elected Governor of Maryland, will try once more to have the death penalty repealed in his state this coming January.
O’Malley, a Democrat, tipped by many to be a possible candidate for the 2016 Presidency, could be set to add to his already progressive legacy.
Although the death penalty remains on the state’s books, advocates, both for and against the law, agree that it is unlikely that those five prisoners currently on death row will be executed during O’Malley’s tenure.
Maryland is one of 34 states with death penalty laws. In 2005 Maryland executed its last prisoner, under Governor Robert Ehrlich (R).
Six years ago Maryland’s highest court put a stop to executions due to a technicality. So far O’Malley’s administration has simply not implemented the regulations which would see the capital punishment resume.
According to the experts there is little reason to believe that O’Malley’s administration will do so, with factors such as drug shortages and the mechanic of the lethal injection causing complications in other states.
Senator Joseph M. Getty, a Republican member of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, who is anti-O’Malley, told the Boston Globe, “It’s legislating by inaction.
“I’m among the members of the Maryland General Assembly who would like to see the law followed.”
Those who are responsible for drafting those rules necessary for executions to resume have no timetable. Rick Binetti, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services said, “We’re still working on the regulations, still exploring best practices around the country.
“It’s a serious issue, and the department is being extra careful, and that’s obviously taking some time.”
Aides to O’Malley said a decision on how to proceed with the law will be made in the coming weeks.
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