[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----N.C., MD.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Jan 26 05:01:49 UTC 2007
N.C. judge blocks 2 executions
Citing a century-old law passed to keep the state from spending too much
on its first electric chair, a judge put two executions on hold Thursday
as North Carolina struggles with the role doctors should play in carrying
out the death penalty.
But the ruling further complicates the debate over whether the state can
carry out executions without the assistance of an attending physician.
State law requires a doctors presence at executions, but the North
Carolina Medical Board decided last week that any participation by a
physician violated medical ethics.
But Stephens said such a change in the states process for imposing a death
sentence requires, under a law passed in 1909, the approval of North
Carolinas Council of State - the governor and the 9 other statewide office
The 1909 law was originally written to ensure that corrections officials
didnt spent more than $1,000 on a new electric chair, state attorney Tom
(source: Associated Press)
O'Malley Voices Support of Bill to End Death Penalty----Though Hurdles
Loom, Sponsor Expresses Hope
Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said yesterday that he plans to work for the
repeal of Maryland's death penalty this legislative session. But he and
some lawmakers predict that the measure has tough hurdles to clear before
it gets to his desk.
"I've had a pretty consistent position on this," O'Malley told reporters
at the State House. "Now that it's salient, I'm certainly not going to try
to duck or hide. I would like to see us repeal the death penalty."
O'Malley's comments came in response to an announcement by two lawmakers
that they would introduce legislation to abolish the death penalty and
replace it with a sanction of life in prison without the possibility of
parole. The bills were filed yesterday.
Lisa A. Gladden (D-Baltimore), the lead sponsor in the Senate, said that
by her count, the measure was one vote shy of getting out of the judicial
"I don't think it's totally out of the question that we could pass a
repeal bill this year," said Gladden, a public defender, who has
introduced similar measures in the past. "I think other legislators don't
want blood on their hands."
Gladden was emboldened yesterday by the group of lawmakers, religious
leaders and supporters who joined her and Del. Samuel I. Rosenberg
(D-Baltimore) at a news conference about the legislation.
The issue has gained prominence in the wake of a court ruling last month
that halted executions in Maryland until new regulations on lethal
injection are put forward by the Department of Public Safety and
Correctional Services. O'Malley said that the process will not start
before the conclusion of the legislature's debate on the death penalty
"That debate needs to happen," O'Malley told reporters.
Senate President Thomas Mike V. Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said he supports
the death penalty but thinks there needs to be a "healthy debate" on the
subject. He said he would not influence a vote one way or the other.
"I realize the trend is against the death penalty," Miller said, "but I
think there are some crimes so atrocious that it's warranted."
House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said he doesn't "have a
real strong feeling one way or the other. We'll let the legislative
process take place. . . . We've never tried to influence our colleagues on
2 issues: the death penalty and abortion."
The bill is likely to meet resistance, with some Democrats joining
minority Republicans in opposition.
Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George's) said he could not support a
repeal because he had a gun held to his head 3 years ago.
Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Calvert), the House minority leader, said he would
not support a repeal and said he is certain that many share his position,
across party lines. "We need the death penalty for the most heinous
cases," he said.
Gladden and Rosenberg said they expected support from O'Malley, who has
consistently said he opposes the death penalty. But O'Malley also has said
that his views would not prevent him from following the law and signing
O'Malley rarely mentioned the death penalty in his primary campaign
against then-Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) or in the
general election race against Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).
O'Malley has argued that the death penalty is not a deterrent and that
money spent on prosecuting death penalty cases could be better spent
fighting violent crime.
Rosenberg said that a sentence of life without the possibility of parole
would be an "enormous deterrent" to committing murder.
"The time and effort litigating these cases, that goes into legislating
this issue, could be spent on preventative measures that make each and
every citizen more safe in their home," Rosenberg said.
The death penalty repeal was not part of the 13-bill legislative agenda
that O'Malley issued this week.
"There are good people who have strong feelings on both sides of the
issue," he said.
(source: Washington Post)
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