Friday, March 18, 2011

Maryland: O'Malley at work, "No. No. No. No. No. No. No."

Gov. Martin O'Malley has come under fire for his failure to any action at all on a stack of recommendations re clemency forwarded to him by the State's Parole Commission. Some of the recommendations have been sitting on O'Malley's desk since the day he stepped into office (way back in January of 2007). Perhaps in direct response to the rising tide of criticism, Governor O'Malley has acted in dramatic fashion: by denying commutations for seven inmates who are serving life sentences (each having been in prison since the 1970s). O'Malley is said to be "unavailable" for comment, but few suspect a bold new day for clemency has arrived in Maryland.

Meanwhile, a committee in the  State's Senate has voted to allow governors 180 days to object to the Commission’s recommendation. Absent such an objection, an inmate will then be automatically released. The State's House has passed a similar resolution with a 90-day deadline. Some State legislators are said to be interested in taking the governor "out of the parole process altogether." See story here and here.

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