Death penalty in limbo, Sen. pres. calls for action
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said this morning that he will call for a committee vote on death penalty regulations that have been in limbo for more than a year, effectively giving the state a moratorium on capital punishment.
Earlier this week, Sen. Paul Pinsky, a Prince George's County Democrat and death penalty opponent, told WBAL's Robert Lang that his administrative panel of senators and delegates needs more time to review regulations that were rewritten by the prison system after being struck down in 2006 by the state's highest court.
Pinsky told WBAL that there are unanswered questions about the lethal injection procedure including, " the mixture of the (lethal injection) chemicals and assurances that (the chemicals) would do what it is intended to do."
But Pinsky did not bring the issue to a vote by the entire Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review, of which he is co-chair with Del. Anne Healy, a Prince George's Democrat. (Read the entire list of committee members after the jump.)
Miller, a Democrat who favors limited use of the death penalty, said it's only fair to "have an up or down vote" on the regulations, and he predicted Pinsky would be amenable to that plan.
The state has not executed anyone since December 2005. In 2009, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley pushed for a full repeal of the death penalty. The Senate rejected that idea, instead placing more stringent rules on when prosecutors can seek capital punishment.
AELR committee members:
Sen. David Brinkley, Republican
Sen. James Brochin, Democrat
Sen. Richard Colburn, Republican
Sen. Jennie Forehand, Democrat
Sen. Lisa Gladden, Democrat
Sen. Allan Kittleman, Republican
Sen. Richard Madaleno, Democrat
Sen. Norman Stone, Democrat
Sen. Bobby Zirkin, Democrat
Del. Eric Bromwell, Democrat
Del. Adelaide Eckardt, Republican
Del. Brian Feldman, Democrat
Del. Keith Haynes, Democrat
Del. Dan Morhaim, Democrat
Del. Justin Ross, Democrat
Del. Michael Smigiel, Republican