Review of Death Penalty Reinstatement Bill HB 125 Postponed

Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry recently stated that the discussion of House Bill 125 to reinstate Delaware’s death penalty would be postponed until the General Assembly reconvenes in January 2018.  “Of all the issues we’ve dealt with in my time in the General Assembly, there have been few as emotional for both sides as the debate surrounding the death penalty,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry. D-Wilmington East. “Efforts to repeal the death penalty were ongoing for more than three years before the courts stepped in so I think it’s obvious we need to proceed deliberately and have a full vetting of this issue in the Senate before we consider reinstating capital punishment.” To see the full article, click here.

HB 125 has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee of which Senator Henry is Chair. It has already passed in the full House. Delaware’s death penalty was declared unconstitutional by the Delaware Supreme Court on August 2, 2016 for violating the sixth amendment of the United States Constitution. The new bill proposes to change the previous statute so that juries must be unanimous and judges are prohibited from overriding jury recommendations. These changes may satisfy Constitutional requirements, but don’t do anything to address the other flaws in Delaware’s death penalty. These flaws include its racist application, failure to improve public safety, high risk of executing an innocent, costing more than life without parole, and a 73% failure rate. For further information about the flaws in Delaware’s death penalty, click here.

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