Colorado Abolishes the Death Penalty!

Today, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed SB20-100, repealing the death penalty in Colorado going forward. He also signed an Executive Order to commute the sentences of the three men on death row to life without the possibility of parole. He stated that the commutations were “consistent with the abolition of the death penalty in the State of Colorado, and consistent with the recognition that the death penalty cannot be, and never has been, administered equitably in the State of Colorado.” Click here for details in the Colorado Sun.

This legislation brings the total number of states without a death penalty to 25, 22 states that have abolished the death penalty by legislation or judicial proceeding, and three states that have a moratorium imposed by their Governor. Click here for details.

The death penalty continues to become more unusual in its use. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, as of January 15, 2020, “executions are rare or non-existent in most of the nation: the majority of states—33 out of 50—have either abolished the death penalty or have not carried out an execution in at least 10 years. An additional 6 states have not had an execution in at least 5 years, for a total of 39 states with no death penalty or no executions in that time.” Click here to see the details.

New Delaware Death Penalty Legislation

Two new bills have been introduced and assigned to the Delaware House Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 305 proposes an amendment to the Delaware Constitution that would prohibit imposition of the death penalty under any circumstances. Sponsors include Reps. Lynn, Longhurst, Baumbach, Dorsey Walker, Bentz, Chukwuocha, K. Johnson, Kowalko, Matthews, Minor-Brown, and Seigfried, and Sens. Townsend, McBride, Lockman, McDowell, Sokola, and Sturgeon, House For details click on HB 305. An amendment to the Delaware Constitution requires a greater than majority vote for passage. It requires approval by two-thirds of both Houses in two subsequent General Assemblies.

House Bill 299, the Egregious Crimes Accountability Act, proposes to bring back Delaware’s death penalty. Sponsors include Reps. Short, Smyk, Dukes, Gray, Morris, Vanderwende, Spiegelman, Yearick, and Sens. Wilson, Ennis, and Pettyjohn. For details click on HB 299

Please contact your legislators regarding these bills. 
  • For HB 305 (prohibiting the death penalty), thank legislators who co-sponsored and urge others to co-sponsor. 
  • For HB 299 (reinstating the death penalty), tell your legislators that Delaware can live without the death penalty and urge them to oppose this bill.

To find out your legislator and their contact information, click here, then type in your address in the Who Is My Legislator? box toward the top right of the screen.

 

Fill Out To Send A Postcard: No “Streamlined” Death Penalty In DE

No_Death_Penalty_Delaware-01We cannot afford to delay action any longer. The Death Penalty legislation to be introduced this month will very likely pass the legislature and bring back this heinous punishment to Delaware. We CANNOT let this happen.

Fill out the form on this link and a volunteer will fill out a postcard on your behalf to send to your legislator. To know who your legislator is, we need your full address where you are registered to vote.

If you can join us for one of our postcard parties to hear about this issue and fill out your own postcard, you do not need to fill out this form. This is for only if you are unable to make it out for a postcard party.

Upcoming chances to fill out postcards in person:

ACLU-DE Guest Bartender Event: March 11th
Network Delaware/Urban League Building People Power Campaign Launch March 14th
Postcard Party: Newark March 16th 6:00 pm
Delaware United Trivia Night March 24th
Death Penalty In Delaware: An Educational and Action Based Forum April 1st
More dates to be added soon!

Death Penalty In Delaware: A Free Educational And Action-Based Forum

No_Death_Penalty_Delaware-01Join us for a free educational and action oriented forum and discussion about the extreme risks associated with Delaware’s Death Penalty Efforts

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Widener University Delaware Law School, Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom, 4601 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803

To register, click Eventbrite Registration

Panelists will explore capital punishment in general and in particular the legislative initiatives being considered in the Delaware General Assembly this year.

The purpose of this discussion is to inform the community of the serious consequences of moving Delaware back to the status of a “death penalty state”. There will be multiple opportunities for you to take direct action to help stop the death penalty. There will be an opportunity for questions.

Please bring a Pen, Paper, Envelope and Stamp if you have them available.

Panelists Include:

  • Brendan O’Neill – Public Defenders Office
  • Barbara Lewis – Restorative Justice Advocate – Personal experience with DP
  • Kristin Froehlich – Victim’s family member
  • Karen Lantz – Civil Rights Lawyer
  • More to come

Opening Statement by Kathy Jennings – Attorney General for Delaware

Sponsors include:

  • Delaware United
  • Unitarian Universalist of Delaware Advocacy Network
  • Delaware Law School American Constitution Society
  • Delaware Citizens Opposed To The Death Penalty
  • ACLU-DE
  • Delaware Center for Justice

To register, click Eventbrite Registration

DCODP Strategy Meeting Mon Feb 24th at 5:30 p.m.

Join us as we strategize against the two bills proposing to reinstate the death penalty and in favor of the proposed change to the Delaware Constitution that will abolish the death penalty. Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty will meet on Monday, February 24, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm in the Social Room at the Wilmington Friends Meeting, 401 N. West Street, Wilmington, DE 19801. The entrance faces West Street. Ring the bell and someone will let you in. All are welcome.

Delaware state legislators prepare another attempt to reinstate the death penalty

The Delaware House of Representatives sent out an email on January 30, 2020, describing some members’ latest plan to attempt to reinstate the death penalty. The new bill, called The Egregious Crimes Accountability Act, claims to resolve the flaws that caused the Delaware Supreme Court to declare the death penalty statute unconstitutional in 2016. It also claims to “streamline” aggravating factors.

Do not be fooled. The image of the statue of blind justice that heads the video accompanying the email is a slap in the face to anyone who cares about racial justice. The new bill has made no attempt to change the extreme racial bias in the administration of the death penalty in Delaware. Indeed, some of these same legislators, in a 2016 letter responding to the death penalty being declared unconstitutional, stated that “We realize there are lingering questions about the equity of its application, but that is a separate issue.” It is not a separate issue to those who are likely to be caught in its snare or to any of us who care about the issues of equality before the law. In addition to racial bias, the new bill does nothing to correct for flaws related to wasteful spending, risk of executing an innocent, harm to victims’ family members, ineffectiveness, and failure to improve either public safety or the safety of law enforcement officers.

We urge you to contact your state legislators and urge them to oppose any efforts to reinstate Delaware’s death penalty. For talking points, click here. To find your legislators, go to Who Is My Legislator? at the top right of the Delaware General Assembly website and enter your address. Thank you!