Death Penalty abolition in Maryland: UPDATE

This afternoon, the Maryland death penalty repeal bill was amended on the Senate floor, by a 25-22 vote, so that the death penalty would still be available, except in cases that rely exclusively on witness testimony (as in Troy Davis’ case).  A second amendment to restrict the death penalty to cases with DNA evidence or taped confessions also passed.  Thus, the death penalty abolition bill became a death penalty restriction bill.

Then, confusion began to take over.  Amendments to the original bill continued to be proposed, even though they did not seem to fit with the new version.  An amendment which would have further restricted the death penalty to killings in prison was submitted, then pulled.  Some seemed unaware that the first amendment had already taken repeal off the table.  A move to send the bill back to its committee and let them sort it out failed.  Ultimately, the Senate adjourned and will reconvene at 9 am tomorrow, when more amendments will likely be submitted.

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