Thursday, March 05, 2009

More on the Death Penalty

From Senator Rich Madaleno (D-18):

Earlier today, the State Senate voted 34 to 13 in favor of the amended bill to restrict the use of the death penalty. The Senate rejected attempts to recommit the bill and to reopen the bill to amendments by similar margins. The bill passed after a short debate in which death penalty supporters expressed opposition to the measure saying that the floor amendments inadvertently went too far in limiting the use of the death penalty. For example, the amended bill requires the presence of DNA evidence before a prosecutor could seek the death penalty. An initial advice letter from the Attorney General's office suggested that fingerprints are not DNA and thus cases based upon witness testimony and finger print evidence on a weapon would appear ineligible for the death penalty. With this advice, it appears that this amended bill might limit the death penalty more than initially believed.

The bill now moves to the House of Delegates for consideration. One of the leading advocates of the bill and a long time mentor of mine, Del. Sandy Rosenberg (D-Northwest Baltimore City), has said he will continue to push for the bill. However, the Senate President did comment this morning that, with the Senate so evenly split on the repeal, any attempt to change the Senate bill would be rejected.

As more developments occur on this issue, I will certainly keep you informed.

Thanks, Rich