Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Maryland Court Orders Lethal Injection Review

The Maryland Court of Appeals in 4-3 decision, ruled that "lethal injection protocols are subject to Maryland's Administrative Procedures Act, meaning that they must be developed under the oversight of the attorney general's office and a legislative committee, and that the public must be given a chance for review and comment."

Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley who is Catholic and a death penalty opponent told reporters recently that he wanted to wait for the state's highest court to rule and offer "guidance" on how to proceed before offering any comments on the subject.

At one time, Maryland had a death penalty moratorium.

Back in 2000, former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke and the late Howard "Pete" Rawlings placed a full-page ad in The Baltimore Sun and urged then-Gov. Parris Glendening to immediately implement a moratorium; a few months later, Glendening ordered a study to examine racial bias; and after a University of Maryland report showed that death row inmates were predominantly black and/or poor, Glendening issued the long-awaited moratorium in 2002.

On the one hand...on the other hand scenario, a few months after the moratorium, Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich won the governor's race; and when he took office in January, he immediately lifted the ban. Favorably for abolitionists on the other hand, Ehrlich was recently booted out of office.

At the time of the ad, O'Malley endorsed the ad and told the Associated Press, "I am not in favor of the death penalty. I don't think as people in a civilized society we can support capital punishment...You don't promote respect for life by making us participate in the death penalty."

Amen, Brother O'Malley; and let's not forget that in Maryland, 63 percent of voters "want to replace the death penalty" with life in prison without parole. Voters in the commonwealth of Virginia hopefully one day will join their sage brethren across the Potomac and come to understand that it costs more to execute than to offer alternatives to the ultimate punishment.

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