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Maryland High Court Calls Halt to Executions: Lethal Injection Blocked Over Procedural Issue

Eric Rich and John Wagner
December 20, 2006; Page B01
The Washington Post

Maryland's highest court ruled yesterday that the state's procedure for carrying out executions was adopted improperly, a defect that the court said must be addressed before any more condemned inmates are put to death.

The unanimous ruling by the Court of Appeals moved the debate squarely into the political realm, where Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) or his Democratic successor, Martin O'Malley, must act if executions are to resume.

Last night, O'Malley, who takes office Jan. 17, called on Ehrlich to leave the issue for the incoming administration. "I'm sure all of this will spark a renewed debate as to whether all of the money we spend prosecuting death penalty cases might be better spent fighting violent crime and saving lives," O'Malley said.

An Ehrlich aide said the administration was reviewing the matter and had not decided how to proceed.


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