Attorneys seek to repeal vehicular manslaughter law

WASHINGTON – An effort to repeal Maryland’s vehicular manslaughter law is under way just one year after the statute was strengthened to crack down on drivers who cause fatal crashes.

A bill passed last year provided for jail time in the case of fatal crashes caused by manslaughter in the state. But William Katcef, with the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office, says the bar to prosecute someone for that type of crash remains too high.

He says a current measure in the Senate — backed by the Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association — would help remedy the problem.

But Delegate Luiz Simmons, who fought for seven years to pass the tougher vehicular manslaughter bill, says repealing the law would be irresponsible.

“They are upset because the law was not written precisely as they wanted it,” says Simmons, D-Montgomery. “They haven’t used it yet, it’s the law in over 30 states — this is a silly thing for them to do.”

A Senate judiciary panel has scheduled a hearing on the measure for Tuesday afternoon.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow Kate and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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