Senators want to raise max penalty for murder

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Local,Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Two senators say 30 years in prison isn't long enough for someone who commits a ghastly murder. But right now, that's the maximum for defendants convicted of second-degree murder, according to Maryland law.

Sen. James Brochin told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that only six states cap their penalties as low as Maryland does. Thirty states and the federal government allow sentences of life in prison.

Brochin and Sen. Norman Stone want to raise the maximum to 40 years, which would mirror laws in Virginia and West Virginia.

Unlike first-degree murder, second-degree murder does not involve premeditation. It's a common charge when one person kills another in a fit of passion. However, prosecutors sometimes reduce first-degree charges to second-degree in plea arrangements.

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