Thursday, 8 March 2007

Death penalty repeal due for panel's vote,0,10714.story?coll=bal-local-headlines

Death penalty repeal due for panel's vote

Capital Notebook

Originally published March 8, 2007

Sen. Brian E. Frosh, chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee,
said yesterday that he is putting a proposed death penalty repeal measure on
the panel's vote schedule for today or tomorrow. However, Frosh said, a vote
on the bill could come as late as next week.

"I'm for the bill," he said. "I'm ready to vote."

The 11-member Senate committee has been waiting for word from Sen. Alex X.
Mooney, a Frederick Republican whose vote could swing the outcome. Mooney, a
conservative Roman Catholic, has struggled to decide whether he will support
the measure, which replaces the death penalty with life without parole.

Mooney said yesterday that he just finished reading Kirk Bloodsworth'

book; Bloodsworth, a former death row inmate in Maryland, was wrongly
convicted of the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl. He testified last
month before the committee.

"It's a really compelling story," Mooney said of the book, Bloodsworth: The
True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA. "It makes me
think if there's 1,000 people on death row and one of them, just one of
them, is innocent, is it worth having the death penalty for the other 999?"

The House Judiciary Committee is considering the same proposal. But
lawmakers say the House panel is holding off on a vote until the Senate
determines its course.

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