ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland bill that would put prison sentences of life without parole in the hands of judges needs more time for consideration, lawmakers said.

Wednesday’s development came after state senators decided too many important issues were being raised so close to the end of the legislative session.

The bill now heads back to the committee level with potential to return for next year’s session, which ends midnight on Monday.

Under the proposed bill, judges, not juries, would decide if someone convicted of first-degree murder is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Current law leaves open the possibility of someone fighting his or her conviction if they were not given the option of a jury deciding their life sentence.

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