It will require all of our actions to keep the death penalty from being reinstated in the Delaware Legislature. Please attend our next meeting to find out the crucial role that you can play in keeping Delaware Death Penalty Free! We will meet at 5:30 pm in the Wilmington Friends Meeting Social Room, 401 N. West Street, Wilmington, DE 19801. All are welcome.
Sunday, April 23rd from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Newark Natural Foods, 230 E. Main St, Newark, DE 19711 (in the Newark Shopping Center). Free parking.
We are doing a group “Letter to the Editor” writing event to help educate readers on why the death penalty is wrong for Delaware.
Don’t know how to write a great letter to the editor? You can simply learn by doing! We will have a short presentation so you can learn what makes a good letter, and see some quality examples. Then, you can write your letter, get it proofread, get information to include in your letter, enjoy some pizza, and send your letter to the major Delaware publications.
Please bring a laptop if you have one!!!!
Monday April 4th, legislators introduced House Bill 125 to reinstate Delaware’s death penalty: AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE EXTREME CRIMES PROTECTION ACT. Click on the link for the full details of the bill. Click here to read the full text of the bill.
We need your help to prevent HB 125 from sending Delaware back to the dark ages.
Please contact your state legislators and tell them you oppose this bill. To get the contact info of your legislators, go to State Legislators and type your address in the Who Is My Legislator? box on the top right.
Letters to the editor are also helpful, especially downstate where support for the death penalty is most fierce.
|Legislators Arguments for Bringing Back the Death Penalty||THE FACTS ABOUT DELAWARE’S DEATH PENALTY|
|“an opportunity to craft a new, stronger capital punishment statute that not only meets constitutional standards, but also potentially contains safeguards to further augment the high integrity of the process.”||Even if a new death penalty statute corrects the 6th amendment violations, requiring unanimous jury recommendations for death and disallowing judges from overriding jury recommendations, it wouldn’t fix its other problems including high cost, high error rate, racial bias, and ineffectiveness in deterring murder and healing victims and communities.|
|“The First State has a long history of applying it cautiously, judiciously, and infrequently.”||NOT CAUTIOUSLY: Forensic evidence not required. Jermaine Wright was sentenced to death without a shred of forensic evidence. He spent over 20 years on death row before pleading no contest and being released with time served; only three states have a number of aggravating factors equal to or higher than Delaware.
NOT JUDICIOUSLY: violated the 6th amendment to the U.S. Constitution; prosecutorial misconduct in several cases; unethical: defendants are threatened with death sentences in order to get them to plead guilty to lesser charges; racial bias; ineffective: over 40% of those given a death sentence are not ultimately executed.
NOT INFREQUENTLY: DE has recently been listed 5th in death sentences per capita and 3rd in executions per capita since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
|“capital punishment can serve as a deterrent, possibly preventing the worst of crimes from ever being committed”||In spite of its frequent use of the death penalty, Delaware is in the top 10 states in terms of murder rate. States with the death penalty have consistently higher murder rates than those without the death penalty.|
|“the only appropriate punishment for some offenses of such a heinous nature that no other sanction would be adequate.”||The death penalty violates the sentencing guidelines of Delaware’s Sentencing Accountability Commission (SENTAC). Life Without Parole is an appropriate sentence as it punishes while allowing for the possibility of offenders taking responsibility for their crime.|
|“Until this week, Delaware was one of 31 states that authorized capital punishment.”||“Only 2% of the counties in the U.S. have been responsible for the majority of cases leading to executions since 1976. Likewise, only 2% of the counties are responsible for the majority of today’s death row population and recent death sentences. To put it another way, all of the state executions since the death penalty as reinstated stem from cases in just 15% of the counties in the U.S.”|
|“We realize there are lingering questions about the equity of its application, but that is a separate issue”||Equity should not be separate, but should be central, especially given the history of racial bias in Delaware’s death penalty. “Black defendants who kill white victims are more than six times as likely to receive the death penalty as are black defendants who kill black victims.”|
Join us at our Monthly DCODP Meeting as we focus on keeping Delaware free of the death penalty. Monday 3/27/17 from 5:30 to 7:00pm. LOCATION: Wilmington Friends Meeting House, 1st floor Social Room, 401 N. West St, Wilmington, DE 19801. Park in the parking lot on the 5th Street side or on the street. Ring the doorbell at the West Street entrance. Call 302-379-0488 for info. Invite a friend. All are welcome!
On December 15th, the Delaware Supreme Court vacated the death sentence of Derrick Powell. Mr. Powell will now have a sentence of life without parole. The decision will apply to the other 11 men on death row, who will also have their death sentences changed to life without parole.
Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty
2016 Annual Meeting
Join us for a short business meeting followed by a presentation:
Capital Punishment in Delaware: Reviewing Past Legislation and Creating a Path Forward
DCODP will present awards to former Senator Karen Peterson, Senator Gary Simpson, and Representative Sean Lynn
Karen Peterson retired from the Senate on October 31st, 2016, after fourteen years of service. She has received numerous awards during her forty-two years of government service for her work on open government, criminal justice, child protection, and animal welfare. She was the primary sponsor of legislation to repeal Delaware’s death penalty. She ably shepherded death penalty repeal bills Senate Bill 19 in 2013 and Senate Bill 40 in 2015 to success in the state Senate.
Monday, November 14th, 2016
7:00 Business Meeting
Kirkwood Library, 6000 Kirkwood Hwy, Wilmington, DE 19808
The annual meeting is free and open to the public.
Refreshments will be provided.
Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty is a restorative justice project of Pacem in Terris. For more information, call 302-379-0488 or visit www.enddeathpenaltyde.org.
On 8/2/16, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that Delaware’s death penalty statute was unconstitutional. Shortly afterward 15 legislators promised to introduce legislation to bring back the death penalty. Join us for a Strategy Meeting to keep Delaware free of the death penalty. Park in the parking lot on the 5th Street side or on the street. Ring the doorbell at the West Street entrance. All are welcome!
Monday, September 26 at 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Wilmington Friends Meeting House, 1st floor Social Room, 401 N. West St, Wilmington, DE 19801
On Tuesday, 8/2/16, the Delaware Supreme Court issued their decision that Delaware’s death penalty statute is unconstitutional. Chief Justice Leo Strine, writing the majority opinion stated, “I join with a majority of my colleagues in concluding that Delaware‘s current death penalty statute conflicts with the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.” The 6th amendment to the US Constitution says you are entitled to a fair jury. The interpretation by the US Supreme Court last Spring in Florida’s Hurst decision, and now by the Delaware Supreme Court, is that a jury, not a judge, must make the final determination in deciding who receives a death sentence.
To read the full decision, click: Rauf v State of DE Decision 080216
To read the News Journal article, click: Delaware’s Death Penalty Law Unconstitutional
Thanks belong to so many people who worked so hard toward this victory. Thanks to Chief Justice Leo Strine and the other Justices who so carefully considered the difficult questions related to the jury’s role in sentencing capital cases. Thank you to the sponsors of recent bills to repeal Delaware’s death penalty, Rep. Sean Lynn, Sen. Karen Peterson, and Rep. Darryl Scott. Thank you to Kathleen MacRae at the ACLU for transforming the landscape of death penalty repeal work. Thank you to the Delaware Repeal Project leadership, Jeremy Collins, Mona Cadena, Rev. Donald Morton, Rachel Livingston, and Sherry Dorsey-Walker. Thank to all the Delaware Repeal Project partners. Thank you to the DCODP leadership whose members have been working to end the death penalty since 1992 when Delaware’s death penalty was reinstated. Sally Milbury-Steen, Connie Kreshtool, John Beer, Kevin O’Connell, Barbara Lewis, and Anne Coleman were some of the original members who have been constant in their efforts. Thank you to Molly Keogh, the current Board President who has helmed the current Committee with wisdom and dedication. Thank you to Horace Knight with Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation. Thank you to Sandra Joy with the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, who always recognizes the humanity in each person on death row and those who have been exonerated. Thank you to the many religious leaders who lead their flocks in the right direction. Thank you to all the legislators who took the time to examine the issue of the death penalty in all of its complexity. Thank you to Abraham Bonowitz who was instrumental in pulling important people and events together. Thank you to all the volunteers and those who used their time and energy to pave the way for this decision.
We remain mindful and respectful of the many families of murder victims who continue to grieve, the many individuals who remain wrongfully accused and convicted, and those still on death row and their families.
While we celebrate the decision, concerns remain. The Delaware Department of Justice may decide to challenge the decision. The Delaware General Assembly may choose to attempt to create a new death penalty statute. The Delaware death penalty has gone and then returned in the past. We will remain vigilant!