Lawmaker Says Death Penalty Rules To Be Taken Up

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 – Scott Wykoff and Associated Press
Within a month, a state panel will take up proposed rules on how lethal injections are administered in Maryland, a lawmaker who co-chairs the committee said Monday.

State Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s, said in an interview he believes the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review could hold a hearing and vote on the state’s execution protocols.

“We are going to take it up in some way, shape, or form, I expect, over the next month,” Pinsky said.

Capital punishment has been on hold since the state’s highest court ruled in late 2006 that the committee hadn’t properly approved Maryland’s lethal injection protocols.

Pinsky said on the Senate floor that he had spoken to the panel’s other co-chair, Delegate Anne Healey, D-Prince George’s, and that there would be a committee meeting later this month or early next month on a “controversial issue before us.” Pinsky said in an interview after session that the death penalty protocols are the other issue.

Pinsky and Healey oppose the death penalty.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, also a death penalty opponent, submitted new protocols for review in June 2009. They came after legislation he backed to repeal capital punishment failed. The committee, however, found several flaws with the proposal, including a lack of detailed medical training requirements for executioners to ensure the state doesn’t have a failed lethal injection attempt. Healey and Pinsky asked for more details.

The O’Malley administration submitted protocols again in November, after time on the first proposed changes expired without panel action.

After the protocols were submitted the first time, the governor could have put the committee on notice that he planned to proceed with executions in 30 days, but the administration never took that step.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, D-Calvert, said he asked Pinsky to take action, because so much time has gone by and members of the Fraternal Order of Police and state’s attorney’s have asked Miller why the matter won’t come up for a vote.

“I’d just like to see a vote either way,” said Miller, who supports the death penalty. “The committee needs to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no.”‘


… It’s about time. …


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