Maryland no longer has the ability to carry out the death penalty even against someone who was sentenced before capital punishment was banned last year, the state attorney general and lawyers for a death-row inmate argued Monday.
Their arguments came under repeated questioning during a hearing before a three-judge panel in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.
Attorney General Doug Gansler contends that inmate Jody Lee Miles should be re-sentenced to life without possibility of parole. He is urging judges on the state's intermediate appellate court to send the case back to circuit court for a new sentence.
Gansler outlined two main reasons. First, Maryland's highest court ruled in Vernon Evans Jr. vs. the State of Maryland in 2006 that a legislative panel needed to approve protocols for lethal injection before an execution could take place, a step that has yet to be taken. Second, when lawmakers banned capital punishment last year, Gansler said they also repealed the law that enabled the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to introduce injection protocols.