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O’Malley Met To Discuss Not Funding Death Penalty

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Martin O’Malley, who opposes capital punishment, held a July meeting with two lawmakers and a death penalty opponent to discuss the possibility of ending funding for executions in the budget for the next fiscal year. But an O’Malley spokeswoman said Tuesday it is unlikely the governor will follow through with the idea.

“It’s not likely, but no final decision has been made,” Raquel Guillory said.

O’Malley’s scheduling records indicate the July 22 meeting was requested by Delegate Samuel Rosenberg, a Baltimore Democrat who has sponsored legislation to end capital punishment in Maryland.

“Purpose: To discuss the Death Penalty and to discuss the idea of defunding executions in 2013 fiscal year’s budget,” is how the governor’s schedule describes the meeting.

Rosenberg confirmed the meeting Tuesday, but he declined to mention specifics about what was said during the meeting, which the governor’s scheduling records indicate was scheduled for about 30 minutes. Rosenberg said Tuesday he plans to push for death penalty repeal legislation in the next session that begins in January.

“It was a positive meeting,” Rosenberg said. “I haven’t discussed it with the governor in any great detail since.”

The records indicate Sen. Lisa Gladden, a Baltimore Democrat who also opposes the death penalty, attended the meeting along with Jane Henderson, executive director of Maryland Citizens Against State Executions. Rosenberg confirmed they attended as well.

Maryland’s death penalty has been in limbo since a 2006 Court of Appeals ruling about a month before O’Malley, a Democrat, entered office in January 2007. The state’s highest court found that the state’s lethal injection protocols weren’t properly approved by a legislative committee. Executions can’t resume until a new protocol is created for the committee to approve.

In February, the O’Malley administration withdrew proposed lethal injection rules from consideration by the legislative panel in order to review the regulations, because a lethal injection drug used in the process is no longer available for purchase in the United States.

Rick Binetti, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections, said Tuesday the administration’s review is still looking at options.

“We expect to have newly proposed regulations sometime in the early new year,” Binetti said.

Then, the regulations would go before the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review.

Maryland has five men on death row, and five inmates have been executed since Maryland reinstated the death penalty in 1978. Wesley Baker was the last person to be executed in Maryland, in December 2005.

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

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