State Sen. Allan Kittleman is torn.
When lobbied by the ACLU and the NAACP to repeal Maryland's death penalty, Kittleman asks how he can ensure the most heinous murderers will never kill again.
When approached by fellow senators or state's attorneys who want to keep capital punishment, Kittleman questions whether there can be a foolproof way to ensure the state doesn't kill an innocent person.
"My mindset on this has always been divided," said Kittleman, a Howard County Republican who hopes to skip his own committee to listen to another panel's death penalty hearings before the legislation reaches the Senate floor. "It really is an issue that I'm struggling with, and I want to make sure I do the right thing."
Like a handful of other publicly undecided senators, Kittleman's internal struggle has made him a target in a behind-the-scenes lobbying press conducted in part by elected officials, prosecutors, religious groups, a Catholic bishop, the wrongly accused and advocates who have strong views on one side or the other.
In a divided chamber considered key to overturning the death penalty, Kittleman and a few other senators may cast the deciding votes on whether to uphold Maryland's narrowly written capital punishment law or to erase it from the books for the first time in 35 years.
The death penalty debate, perhaps the most emotional issue of the General Assembly session, does not break cleanly down party lines as lawmakers choose instead to yield to constituent views, emotion or their moral beliefs.
The Washington Post notes, "Today in D.C.: Four things to watch for," by Maggie Fazeli Fard.
Maryland death penalty repeal effort: Relatives of murder victims are joining a rally in Annapolis this afternoon in favor of repealing the state’s death penalty.
Earlier coverage from Maryland begins at the link.