Strangulation Bill Passes Senate Committee

It now heads to the full Senate.


Annapolis, Md (KM) In a unanimous vote on Wednesday, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee passed a bill to make strangulation a 1st-degree felony assault, with a penalty of up to o 25-years in prison.

Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith says this legislation will help prosecutors, particularly in domestic violence cases. “We had a case here where we lost a 1st-degree assault on a strangulation case in a domestic violence situation,”: he said.

Currently, prosecutors can charge a defendant with strangulation as a 1st-degree felony assault. But Smith says it’s difficult to prove that to a jury. “Juries were getting confused about the 1st-degree language, and so we wanted it  very specific that strangulation is a per se 1st-degree felony assault, not just a 2nd-degree misdemeanor assault because strangulation is extremely serious,” he says.

Smith credits his staff and the local legislative delegation for getting this measure passed. “The strangulation bill got statewide support but it really came out of Frederick County,” he said. “Lindsay Carpenter, {Delegate} Jesse Pippy was a sponsor in the House. Lindsay is a prosecutor in our office that was instrumental in getting it done along with Joyce King,” he says. Joyce King is the chief counsel for the State’s Attorney’s Office

The bill passed the House of Delegates last month.


By Kevin McManus