death penalty

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The repeal of Delaware’s death penalty inched forward this week with a Senate committee approving the legislation that excludes the 15 inmates currently on death row.

Senator Karen Peterson is cosponsor of the measure.

And, the Stanton Democrat along with other supporters of repeal says that capital punishment is not only costly but has been applied in a morally discriminatory fashion.

This is not the first time that repeal has headed to the full Senate for approval.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Death penalty opponents in the General Assembly say they plan to reintroduce legislation to abolish capital punishment in Delaware.

The legislation, which was discussed at a news conference Wednesday, mirrors a bill that passed the Senate in 2013 by only one vote before dying in a House committee.

The legislation would remove execution as a possible punishment for first-degree murder, leaving life in prison without the possibility of parole as the only sentence for that crime.


SALISBURY, Md. (AP) - A Maryland inmate whose death sentence was commuted to life in prison is hoping to argue for less time behind bars.

On Jan. 20, former Gov. Martin O'Malley commuted the death sentences of four inmates who had been sentenced before the state banned capital punishment in 2013. Among them was Jody Lee Miles, convicted in the 1997 robbery and murder of Edward Atkinson in Wicomico County.


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP)-  Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler says the state has lost the ability to carry out a death sentence, even against a death row inmate who was sentenced before the state banned capital punishment last year.

Gansler argued before a three-judge panel in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Monday that death-row inmate Jody Lee Miles should be re-sentenced to life without possibility of parole.

Maryland has four death-row inmates who were sentenced before last year's repeal.

Maryland Law Enforcement

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Attorneys for a man on Maryland's death row will argue before an appeals court that his sentence is illegal because the state no longer has a death penalty.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that lawyers for Jody Lee Miles, who has been on death row since 1998, will argue before the Court of Special Appeals on Monday that the state lacks the authority to execute Miles and will ask for a new sentence that includes the possibility of parole.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland's attorney general has taken steps that could result in the revocation of death sentences for four inmates who were sentenced to die before the state abolished capital punishment last year.

Doug Gansler announced Thursday that he was filing a brief with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to support attorneys for Jody Lee Miles. They contend his death sentence is illegal.

The repeal applied only to future death sentences, leaving four men on death row.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's Board of Pardons has refused to hear a commutation request from a killer whose sentencing led to changes in Delaware's death penalty law.

James Llewellyn Jr. is one of four men convicted of robbing and murdering two armored car guards in December 1990. The defendants all received life sentences after jurors could not unanimously agree on the death penalty.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's highest court has upheld the conviction and death sentence for a man found guilty of raping and killing a University of Delaware student.

The Delaware Supreme Court ruled Thursday that none of the claims raised by lawyers for 43-year-old James E. Cooke had a basis for overturning his 2012 conviction and sentence.

Cooke was convicted of the 2005 rape and killing of 20-year-old Lindsey Bonistall of White Plains, N.Y.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is lending his voice to an effort to repeal the death penalty in Delaware.

Richardson, who as governor signed a bill repealing New Mexico's death penalty, visited Legislative Hall on Thursday to call for a Delaware House vote on repealing the death penalty.

A bill abolishing capital punishment in Delaware failed to gain enough support to clear the House Judiciary Committee last year after passing the Senate by a single vote.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Roman Catholic nun whose book inspired the movie "Dead Man Walking" is pushing for Delaware to repeal the death penalty.

Sister Helen Prejean was scheduled to lead a rally of death penalty opponents in Dover on Tuesday in an effort to persuade state lawmakers to abolish Delaware's death penalty.

Prejean was scheduled to address a gathering at an Episcopal church in downtown Dover before going to Legislative Hall to meet with lawmakers.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware has 17 condemned prisoners facing the death penalty, but no means of executing any of them.

Prison officials in Delaware, like other states, have found it difficult to get the drugs used in lethal injections. Nationwide, states started facing shortages several years ago after drug manufacturers began prohibiting the use of their products in executions because of ethical concerns and fear of unwanted publicity.

\Records obtained by The Associated Press show that supplies of two of the three drugs used in Delaware have expired.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - The judge tapped by Gov. Jack Markell to become Delaware's new chief justice says he is personally opposed to the death penalty.

But Chancellor Leo Strine Jr. said Monday that judges and other public officials must follow the law in performing their duties and not impose their personal political preferences.

Sister Helen Prejean, author of “Dead Man Walking”, is pushing for the repeal of the death penalty in Delaware.

She is backing Senate Bill 19 that barely got past the Senate but only after a retroactive clause was eliminated from the legislation.

And the same measure stalled in the House Committee in April.

WDEL reports that Sister Prejean noted that there are 22 aggravating factors in Delaware law that would sentence someone to death.

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There are some new laws going into effect today in state of Maryland.

Police will now be able to ticket drivers for talking on their cell phone rather than being required to stop them for another violation.

Maryland is also banning 45 types of assault weapons and limiting gun magazine to 10 bullets beginning today.

In addition, those who want to purchase a handgun will have to be fingerprinted.

These gun laws are being challenged in court today.

Delaware Department of Correction

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - The Delaware Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of a man who killed his wife to collect life insurance.

The court voted 3-2 on Wednesday to uphold 49-year-old Gary W. Ploof's sentence in the 2001 shooting death of 29-year-old wife Heidi Ploof.

Gary Ploof was a staff sergeant stationed at Dover Air Force base when his wife's body was found in her car in a parking lot in Dover. She had been shot in the head.

Prosecutors allege Ploof killed his wife to collect on a $100,000 life insurance policy.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - The Baltimore County state’s attorney is joining a state lawmaker at an announcement related to Maryland’s recent repeal of the death penalty.

Scott Shellenberger is scheduled to join Del. Neil Parrott at an event Friday afternoon in front of the Frederick County Board of Elections.

The officials have not said what they’ll announce, though both have been critical of the death penalty repeal. Maryland this month became the first state south of the Mason-Dixon line to abolish the death penalty in nearly 50 years, joining only West Virginia.

Maryland News Connection

Governor Signs Repeal

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland has become the first state south of the Mason-Dixon line to abolish the death penalty in more than 50 years.

Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the measure at a crowded ceremony on Thursday. Attending was one-time Maryland death row inmate Kirk Bloodsworth. He is the first person in the U.S. freed because of DNA evidence after being convicted in a death penalty case.

West Virginia did away with capital punishment in 1965.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley is scheduled to sign a measure repealing capital punishment in Maryland.

O'Malley, a Democrat, is set to sign the measure at a bill-signing ceremony on Thursday.

Maryland will become the 18th state to abolish the death penalty.

The state has five men on death row. The bill will not apply to them retroactively. However, the legislation makes it clear the governor can commute their sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole. O'Malley has said he will consider them on a case-by-case basis.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A House committee has voted to table a bill repealing Delaware's death penalty.

Tuesday's vote by the Judiciary Committee came after its meeting last week ended in confusion, with supporters of the bill failing to win approval to table it and opponents prevented from taking a vote against it.

But majority Democrats acknowledged that the bill did not have enough votes to be released from committee last week.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A House committee is reconvening to consider a bill repealing Delaware's death penalty.

Members of the Judiciary Committee ended a meeting last week in confusion, after supporters of the bill failed to win approval to table it and opponents were prevented from taking a vote against it.

Majority Democrats acknowledged, however, that the bill did not have enough votes to be released from committee.


Governor To Sign Death Penalty Repeal

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley plans to sign a measure repealing capital punishment in Maryland into law.

Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for O'Malley, confirmed on Thursday that O'Malley plans to sign the bill at a bill-signing ceremony on May 2.

Maryland will become the 18th state to ban the death penalty. Connecticut did so last year. Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York also have abolished it in recent years.

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Death Penalty

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A bill to repeal Delaware's death penalty has stalled in a House committee after barely clearing the Senate.

Members of the Judiciary Committee took no action on the measure Wednesday after it appeared it would fail to win passage.

The measure barely cleared the Senate last month on an 11-10 vote after chief sponsor Sen. Karen Peterson removed a controversial provision that would have spared the lives of 17 inmates awaiting execution in Delaware.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Medical marijuana and a measure addressing legal responsibilities related to dog bites are some of the remaining issues before Maryland lawmakers on the last day of the legislative session.

The session is scheduled to end at midnight Monday. Most major bills have already been passed, including: one relating to gun control; a gas tax increase; a Baltimore schools funding plan; and a repeal of the death penalty.

The medical marijuana bill will put Maryland on track to have a program at academic medical research centers that decide to participate.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A bill repealing Delaware's death penalty has been revised to remove a provision that would spare the lives of 17 killers already on death row.

Senators overwhelmingly approved an amendment striking the provision just before beginning debate Tuesday on the bill itself.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland is poised to become the 18th state in the nation to abolish the death penalty.

A death penalty repeal bill has already passed the state Senate and is expected to pass the House of Delegates on Friday.

Supporters of the repeal argue that capital punishment is costly, error-prone, racially biased and a poor deterrent of crime. Opponents say it's a necessary tool to punish lawbreakers who commit the most egregious crimes.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Opponents of capital punishment are calling for an end to Delaware's death penalty.

More than 100 people gathered Tuesday in the state Senate chambers as lawmakers announced the pending introduction of a bill that would do away with the death penalty and prevent the 17 inmates already on death row from being executed.

Opponents of the death penalty say it's morally wrong, ineffective as a deterrent to violent crime and far more costly than putting killers in prison for life.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate is scheduled to take up a measure to repeal the death penalty.

The Senate is set to consider amendments to the bill on Friday.

A vote on the measure is not expected until next week.

Maryland has five men on death row. The state's last execution was in 2005.

Maryland's death penalty has been on hold since a 2006 court ruling found the state's lethal injection protocols weren't properly approved by a legislative committee.

Gun Control

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland Senate committee has approved a sweeping gun-control measure.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 7-4 late Thursday night in favor of the bill, which is a top priority of Gov. Martin O'Malley's legislative agenda. The vote sends the legislation to the full Senate for debate next week.

In one of the biggest changes, the legislation would prohibit someone from owning a handgun if he or she has been involuntarily committed for mental health reasons.

Maryland Citizens Against State Executions

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is nearing a vote on a measure that would repeal the state's death penalty.

The committee could vote as soon as Thursday.

Last week, Gov. Martin O'Malley urged lawmakers in both the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and the House Judiciary Committee to ban capital punishment, calling the practice costly and a poor deterrent of violent crime.

The Democrat governor has said that he believes the General Assembly has the will to ban capital punishment this session.


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley urged lawmakers to pass a measure that would repeal the death penalty in Maryland.

The Democratic governor and death penalty opponent denounced the practice of capital punishment during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, calling it inaccurate, costly, racially biased and ineffective in deterring violent criminals.