Town Hall Meeting – Tuesday 11/17 in Wilmington

Town Hall Mtg 111715

Join us at this very important town hall meeting. Momentum for repeal is growing. A large crowd at this event will show our legislators and the media that we will not tolerate racial bias in Delaware’s criminal justice system, especially the death penalty. The event “Life or Death: A Critical Look at Criminal Justice and Race,” will be held at 7 pm at Tabernacle Full Gospel Baptist Church, 501 N Washington St, Wilmington, DE 19801. It will feature an extraordinary group of speakers including: Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court Leo Strine; Tamika Mallory, Director of the National Action Network; Shefon Taylor and Charles Madden with the Wilmington HOPE Commission; and Yasser Payne, Professor of Black American Studies at the University of Delaware.

Federal Judge Critiques Delaware’s Execution of Shannon Johnson

U.S. District Judge (former Chief Judge) Gregory M. Sleet considers whether Delaware’s Execution of Shannon Johnson in April 2012 was a subversion of due process and the adversary system. The Conclusion of his article in the Summer 2015 issue of the ABA Criminal Justice Section’s magazine, Criminal Justice is:

“Johnson’s case—a case that proceeded with notable and unnecessary haste from the time of his competency hearing to his execution—highlights profound failings in our judicial process. As a federal judge tasked with ensuring that individuals and entities that move through our judicial system are guaranteed a process consistent with the dictates of constitutional due process, I believe that the district court was prohibited from doing so in this case and that the process afforded Johnson fell far short of this guarantee. While Johnson may have, in fact, been competent to waive his appellate rights and expedite his own execution, I believe now, as I did then, that it is critical that the process resulting in an execution may be “judged in hindsight as having complied with the requirements of constitutional due process, as well as appear to the general public, which has a great interest in the issue, to have done so.” It is my sincere hope that this case and the subsequent examination of it will promote the changes necessary to ensure we can do so in the future.”

To read the full article, click on ABA Criminal Justice Summer 2015 issue and go to page 9.

SB 40 held up in Committee – still needs one signature

Democracy lost on Wednesday when six House Judiciary Committee members refused to sign SB 40 out of committee, thereby preventing a vote by all Representatives in the state. Thank you to Rep. Sean Lynn for his courageous sponsorship. Thank you to Reps Smith, Potter, Johnson, and Brady for their support. Please continue to write Reps Spiegelman, Paradee, Smyk, Mitchell, Wilson, and Outten urging them to sign SB40 out of committee. Thank you to all the organizers and all those who testified. Many wise and heartfelt words were shared.

According to DE Repeal representative Rachel Livingston, “One Legislative Hall veteran said it was probably the best testimony ever presented to a committee in his 35+ years. Our voices were heard!”

We will be in touch next week about what more you can do to help. It’s not over!
For now:
• Check out all the great pictures on the Delaware Repeal Facebook page.
• Continue liking and sharing DE Repeal posts and pictures on Facebook and Twitter.
• Write letters to the editor to your local newspaper to express your disappointment with the outcome of the House Judiciary Committee Hearing for SB 40.
• Encourage friends to “Like” the Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty and DE Repeal Facebook pages.

In the meantime, never fear, Nevada has successfully passed its repeal bill in two out of three debates. The third debate is expected this coming week. Although the Governor is expected to veto, the majority so far is great enough to override a veto. Such good work from our Conservative neighbors to the West!

Thank you for your continued support!

Governor Supports Repeal of Death Penalty

On May 7, 2015, Gov. Jack Markell announced that he is in support of repeal of the death penalty!  In a statement to the press Gov. Markell said:

“It doesn’t make us safer.  Should the repeal bill come to my desk, I would sign it.”

“This is not an easy issue. My thinking has changed and I just wanted to give it very careful consideration.”

“I know this is a really difficult issue for members of the General Assembly.  I hope that after considering the arguments as I have, they will reach the same conclusion that I have.”