O'Malley signs manslaughter bill
Despite misgivings from some of Maryland's state's attorneys, Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a bill Tuesday that is intended to make it easier to impose serious penalties on drivers who kill people as a result of serious negligence.
The legislation, which had the backing of bicycle advocates and survivors of victims of vehicle crashes, fills what proponents called a gap between the traffic offense of negligent driving and felony vehicular homicide.
The new charge of manslaughter by criminally negligent homicide, carries a jail term of up to three years. Proponents said it has been almost impossible to win convictions of the felony manslaughter charge unless prosecutors could show the defendants had been driving drunk or engaging in a street race.
Proponents say the new charge could not be applied for ordinary driving mistakes that have fatal consequences but only for flagrant violations that lead to another's death.