Parole reviews

September 21, 1997

Govenor Parris N. Glendening obviously wanted to make a point when he announced two years ago that prisoners serving life sentences for rape or murder need not bother to apply for parole. In September 1995, he told the state's Parole Commission "not to even recommend -- to not even send to my desk -- a request for parole for murderers and rapists." He made two exceptions, for old age and ill health.

No doubt it sounded good to citizens who want to see officials get tough on criminals. But governors are elected to administer laws. In this case, as Baltimore Circuit Judge Richard T. Rombro reminded Mr. Glendening in a ruling last week, state law requires the governor to use his judgment on parole decisions -- not to refuse even to consider them.

Pub Date: 9/21/97

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