None in delegation back death penalty repeal

February 21, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM
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Munson said he also supports the current death penalty statute, which makes it mandatory for the state to seek death for anyone charged with murdering a police officer or a correctional officer.

Munson said officers need that protection. He said without the possibility of the death penalty, inmates who already are serving long periods of time -- or even life -- in prison have no incentive not to kill.

"That inmate has absolutely nothing to lose whatsoever by killing (officers)," Munson said.

Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, said he does not support a repeal of the death penalty, but said the punishment should be used for only the most serious crimes -- such as the murder of a police officer or a correctional officer.

"I think it should be an option for our legal system," Donoghue said.

DNA evidence

Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., R-Washington/Allegany, also supports the death penalty and said the current system should remain in place.


"I see with what we have available today with the DNA and the high tech systems that we have in place that we can be more sure -- if not totally sure -- that the person that committed the crime is definitely the person that we're penalizing and using the death penalty on," Myers said.

Del. Richard B. Weldon Jr., who is unaffiliated and represents parts of Frederick and Washington counties, agreed.

"I'll never support an abolition of the death penalty," he said.

Weldon agreed with other lawmakers who said the death penalty must remain as a deterrent for inmates who would kill while in prison.

"I think they ought to have something to lose, and that something ought to be their lives," Weldon said.

Donoghue said he believes a compromise bill will be drafted that allows the death penalty in some cases.

Myers said it is possible the death penalty ban could be modified enough to be approved, changing the current system.

"This is not a new issue, and it's one that we will continue to deal with," Shank said. "We have not seen the last of it."

Members of Washington County's delegation to the Maryland General Assembly were asked: "Are you in favor of banning the death penalty?" Here are their responses:

o Sen. George C. Edwards -- No

o Sen. Alex X. Mooney -- Maybe, if there was an exception for inmates who kill someone while in prison.

o Sen. Donald F. Munson -- No

o Del. John P. Donoghue -- No

o Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr. -- No

o Del. Andrew A. Serafini -- No

o Del. Christopher B. Shank -- No

o Del. Richard B. Weldon Jr. -- No

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