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Maryland Ponders Prisoners Last Rights

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By Meymo Lyons

Maryland may soon allow condemned prisoners to choose their own spiritual advisor to accompany them in the execution chamber when they die.

Most of the 35 states with capital punishment allow an inmate to meet with the clergy of their choice in the hours before an execution, but the majority of them require spiritual advisers to watch the execution from an adjoining room.

Maryland currently allows an official prison chaplain to be in the room during the execution, but the state chooses that person. The measure is being considered by Maryland legislators at a time when the death penalty is essentially on hold.

In 2006 the state's highest court determined the way the state lethally injected its inmates wasn't properly reviewed by a legislative panel as required.


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