Bill Would Limit Md. Governor’s Say In Paroles

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The House of Delegates approved a measure Tuesday which would limit the say of Maryland governors in the parole of violent offenders.

When the state’s parole board approves the release of a prisoner serving a life sentence, the governor has the final say. But the bill, which now moves to the Senate, would set a limit of 90 days from the parole board’s decision for the governor to make a call, after which the prisoner would be released.

The House narrowly approved the measure on a 74-66 vote, with three votes more than the minimum 71 needed for passage.

According to legislative analysts, there are 49 prisoners who have been approved for release, but who are awaiting word from Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat. An O’Malley spokesman said he has not taken a position on the bill yet.

The proposal would make the governor accountable for deciding one way or another whether a prisoner is released, said Delegate Luiz Simmons, D-Montgomery.

“‘You can run, but you cannot hide,'” he said, quoting Ronald Reagan in an appeal to Republican delegates.

But opponents recounted stories of repeat offenders who were released and attacked again.

“We’re not talking about nice people, and the default’s going to be ‘Let them go, let these folks out,'” said House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell, R-Calvert.

Delegate John Cluster, R-Baltimore County, a former police officer, cited the slaying last month of a Parkville High School student. The suspect in the shooting had been convicted of murder in 2003.

The Maryland Parole Commission, a 10-member board, can grant parole to prisoners serving life sentences after 15 years in jail and to prisoners convicted of first-degree murder after 25 years. Prisoners sentenced to life without parole cannot be released.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • Kathryn

    Unless the Governor (as an office, not meaning a particular person) has a degree in criminal justice and a background in law enforcement and or corrections, he is unqualified to make such decisions. Unfortunately, the parole board does not really do better as the majority of people they let out committ more crime & more than half of them end up back in jail. On the other hand, the longer someone is in jail, the less likely they are todo more crime & return. (Bureau of Justice stats) The gov has no training in corrections, keep him out of it!

    Since people are often put in prison by a jury of their peers, how about the same alongside the parole board to decide if they get out?

  • Mike

    It’s really cool nowadays how politicians have the power to put a choke on the power of the Governor. Is this a good idea? Well, let’s assume that Charles Manson is in a MD prison. Let’s also say that he is up for parole & the parole board for some crazy reason grants it. The Governor has the final authority. If, in this case, the Governor couldn’t meet the 90-day requirement. Well, I guess then Charlie would be set free. Good idea? Only if Charlie stays out of yiour neighborhood. Come on people, use common sense. Our delegates should be utilizing their time to deliberate on bills that make a difference. Keep the killers in jail; “give them the chair” when needed. But STOP trying to get them out early on a technicality. Remember, life should mean LIFE…..

  • Juanita

    There are some lifer that did turn there life around and should be given a chance. Look we need to stop putting down inmate all of them are not out to kill.I hope that the governor don’t have a say in the matter. And I do beleive that the parole board will not allow the serious killer out they know who they are. We all make some kind of mistake in our life and we do turn our life to GOD . See GOD does forgive us and I know that there are some ready to be home. Come all think about it. GOD BLESS

  • Archives

    […] track record makes O’Malley’s recent refusal to sign Maryland House Bill 302 , which reduces his power over parole board decisions for those serving life sentences, less than […]

  • barb

    We need to do something to change this law. We must organise some kind of group and get with senators or whom ever we need to too get this changed. This is not a law. This is politics. As I have done my homework, there is no law in place that states this or it is not written in law. Maybe a class action lawsuit I went to the us baltimore law school and also spoke to someone there and there is no such written law. Not every one needs to spend the rest of there life in jail for mistake. People can change and do the right thing. The Gov. wants to control everything and everybody. Why would you need a parole board, just ask the gov who doesn’t even know what the inmate did other then they have a life sentence. There are inmates dying in jail that have a life sentence who needed to be paroled years ago. So if this law is not written in stone why, can’t we go to the supreme court.

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