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May 27, 2008

Ending the moratorium on the death penalty

Capital punishment in Maryland has been on a see-saw of late. With Governor O'Malley in Annapolis, it's tended to be a little more saw than see.

Kenny Burns writes that Governor O'Malley is about to take steps to restore the death penalty. O'Malley is not enthusiatic about it, but he's proceeding, anyway, which is far more than I expected.

Kenny cites a report on WBAL that explains:

Governor Martin O'Malley says he will reluctantly move forward with getting Maryland's execution protocol approved.

Maryland's highest court ruled in late 2006 that the state could not hold another lethal injection until a legislative committee gives proper approval to the rules about how executions are carried out.

O'Malley is adamantly opposed to capital punishment, and has waited to see how legislation to repeal the death penalty fared in the General Assembly. Repeal legislation has failed two years in a row.

O'Malley says he won't stand in the way of the law and will direct the state's corrections agency to start developing the new protocols.
Of course, actually carrying out the punishment is all somewhat theoretical, because Maryland has few inmates on death row, and the largest jurisdictions in the state are reluctant to bring capital cases. There have been only two executions in Maryland since 1998 (and one in November 1998).