Could the Death Penalty Be Reinstated in Maryland?

A recent article in the Baltimore Sun claims that Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s administration may be reluctantly considering the resumption of executions in the state after the governor’s efforts earlier this year failed to convince Maryland’s General Assembly to make capital punishment illegal. Earlier, O’Malley postponed proposed revisions to Maryland’s lethal injection protocols while he attempted to build support for repealing death penalty legislation in Maryland. Since December 2006, Maryland has had a de facto moratorium on capital punishment but some state lawmakers have been working to have it reinstated. People on both sides of Maryland’s death penalty issue are watching developments very closely. Cindy Boersma, the legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union which opposes the death penalty, said, “This is the first step toward restarting the machinery of death in Maryland, which is unfortunate. But to the extent this is moving forward, it’s moving forward the way it should—with the opportunity for public review and comment.” Death penalty supporters praised the state legislature for moving forward with the resumption of executions in the state. Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger said the move “puts the death penalty in Maryland back on track” so that the executions of Maryland’s current five death-row inmates could proceed. “I truly believe in the old adage that justice delayed is justice denied,” he said. “All of the inmates on death row have had numerous appeals and there’s no question of their guilt.” Governor O’Malley has aggressively pursued legislation that restricts when capital punishment may be handed down and under his proposal, prosecutors can only seek the death penalty under certain conditions:

  • When the state has DNA or another type of biological evidence
  • When the state has a video recording of the crime, or
  • If the prosecutor has a videotaped confession by the alleged killer

Other regulations in the bill address banning the “cut down” procedure in which executioners cut into a vein to inject the lethal chemicals, reduce the amount of time that family, clergy and other visitors can visit a prisoner before an execution from four hours to three, and allow a prisoner to request a last meal at the discretion of prison officials.  Capital punishment is an issue that polarizes people and the Maryland criminal defense lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC understand that people on both sides of the capital punishment issue are following the events in Annapolis with avid interest. If you have any questions about pending capital punishment legislation or a loved one has been convicted of a crime that might put them at risk for the death penalty, call the experienced Maryland criminal defense attorneys at Alpert Schreyer today at 866-444-6363.

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About Andrew Alpert

+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.