Kelly switchesFrancis X. Kelly, a former Baltimore County...

CAPITAL MATTERS

April 03, 1991

Kelly switches

Francis X. Kelly, a former Baltimore County state senator, formally announced his decision to switch from the Democratic to the Republican Party yesterday.

Mr. Kelly, who served 12 years in the Senate from Baltimore County's 10th District, was defeated in last year's Democratic primary by Janice Piccinini, who went on to win the general election. The abortion issue figured prominently in the campaign. Mr. Kelly was the leader of the anti-abortion filibuster in the Senate last year. Ms. Piccinini supported abortion rights. Accusations that Mr. Kelly was too cozy with Republicans in the district also arose in the campaign.

"I guess I've always been a Republican at heart," Mr. Kelly said at a news conference yesterday.

"Whatever makes him happy," said Ms. Piccinini. "I don't think the Democratic Party shuddered."

Coerced confessions

A House committee chairman proposed legislation yesterday to undo in Maryland what he called "a bad, bad decision" by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"My bill would say you could not use forced confessions in any trial in Maryland," Delegate John S. Arnick, D-Baltimore County, said after the House voted to allow the bill to be introduced.

Use of a confession that was obtained through coercion would be automatic grounds for reversal of a guilty verdict, the House Judiciary Committee chairman said.

The 5-4 Supreme Court decision issued last week said introduction of a coerced confession as evidence at a trial may be harmless error that does not automatically require a new trial. The court said a conviction can stand if there is sufficient other evidence to prove that a defendant is guilty.

Today

10 a.m.: House and Senate convene, State House.

a.m.: Board of Public Works meets, State House.

1 p.m.: House Constitutional and Administrative Law Committee considers Senate bill to hold next year's presidential primary on the first Tuesday in March, Room 140, House Office Building.

There are six days remaining in the 1991 General Assembly session.

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