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March 5, 2009

After the death penalty debate, how does O'Malley look?

The governor who pledged to use all his (considerable) power to repeal Maryland's death penalty this year has been pretty muted in his response since the Senate voted yesterday to limit but not end capital punishment here. Yesterday afternoon, O'Malley's office released this statement:

"This is a painfully difficult issue. I appreciate that the full Senate chose to consider the important work and conclusions of the Death Penalty Commission.”

“While I do not think we can ever make the application of human justice perfect, the amendments passed in the Senate strengthen the standard of proof required to apply the death penalty in Maryland.”

“Last year, we achieved the second largest reduction in homicides in Maryland since 1985. Our mission to improve public safety in every community and neighborhood in our State continues.”

(I think that last paragraph is actually just part of the signature line on the press office e-mail account; it seems to pop up quite a lot in their press releases.)

That doesn't quite sound like somebody declaring victory. O'Malleywatch (not surprisingly) had a particularly stinging analysis of how this makes the governor look inside the Annapolis bubble. But will this register outside State Circle? Does it make him look weak in the eyes of voters, does it look like he got as much as could be gotten, or do people have other things on their minds and not really care?

Posted by Andy Green at 11:32 AM | | Comments (5)


Perhaps now Annapolis can work on the budget-
budget cutting, the slots quagmire, and by truly helping the residents of the Flleece State cut taxes!
It is a dream I had!

As someone who supported full repeal, even going so far as to email my State Senator several times, I am pleased to know that the Governor really tried--he put his neck out on the line--and that at least now there is a bill that will pass limiting the use of capital punishment. The fact that death penalty supportes, like local prosectutors, are decrying the bill suggests at least to me that this is a step in the right direction.

I care, in a round about way.
I don't have any family members on death row, but I do have family members who might someday, god forbid, become the victim of a heinous crime.

What a silly question.
According to your columns Andy Governor O'Malley is doing well and Maryland is prospering under his enlightened leadership.

Why on earth would anyone think any different?

With all due respect to you, JD, if you think O'Malley reeeeaally tried to pass the death penaly repeal, you are sadly mistaken. Had death penalty repeal been an actual priority for the governor, it would have been a slam dunk before session. Do you really believe that the same governor that forced an entire legislature into submission over taxes and slots, couldn't get a couple of senate votes to pass a death penaly repeal in a state where executions are currently prohibited anyway? Which brings me to my next point....All the hype over this issue was contrived. It is a non-issue. Executions are currently prohibited. The governor has discretion to order an execution or not. Executions are very rare in MD. No one on death row faces immediate threat of execution. Baltimore City, the murder capital of the state, does not utilize the death penalty. It is a non-issue contrived by O'Malley to placate progressives and justice advocates to cover his terrible record to date on issues they care about. The incompetent, lazy, mainstream media, like the Sun and local tv, bought into it, and once again engaged in irresponsible journalism by not exposing this for the unnecesary, ill-timed, irrelevant legislation and fake legislative effort it was.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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