Benjamin Civiletti, a prominent Baltimore lawyer and former U.S. attorney general who once called for a national moratorium on capital punishment, will head a state commission studying the death penalty in Maryland, reports the Baltimore Sun. The commission begins its deliberations as Gov. Martin O’Malley, a staunch death-penalty opponent, has moved toward ending Maryland’s de facto moratorium on executions by ordering the drafting of procedures for the use of lethal injection.
The commission is charged with examining several issues, including disparities in the application of the death penalty, the cost differential between litigating prolonged capital punishment cases and life imprisonment, and the impact of DNA evidence. Civiletti, who was attorney general during the Carter administration and now focuses on commercial litigation and white-collar crime, declined to share his personal opinion on the subject. A decade ago, he wrote, “I am not opposed to capital punishment, nut the serious flaws in our capital punishment justice system have not been addressed.” The commission must submit a final report by Dec. 15.