Delaware House passes Bill to reinstate the death penalty. Bill goes to Senate next.

Tuesday 5/9/17, the Delaware House passed House Bill 125, the bill aiming to reinstate the death penalty. The Bill passed 24 to 16 with 1 absence. The Bill now goes to the Senate. Please contact your Senator. Go to www.legis.delaware.gov for contact information.

Please thank the 16 Representatives who voted against the bill: Sean M. Lynn, Bryon Short, Paul Baumbach, Andria Viola Bennett, David Bentz, Stephanie T. Bolden, Gerald Brady, Deb Heffernan, J.J. Johnson, Kim Casey Williams, Helene Keeley, John Kowalko, Sean Matthews, Joe Miro, Charles Potter Jr., and John Viola. They stood strong for evidence-based policies, morality, and equal treatment under the law. Thank you all! Thank you also to all death penalty opponents at Legislative Hall!

For further information, click here to read the News Journal story.

Addressing the Trauma of Violence in Delaware

Movement for a Culture of Peace

Seeking Community Input on a Holistic Plan for Peace

2017-04-30_Trauma_150On Sunday, the Movement for a Culture of Peace (MCP) moves forward with its plans to convene in the midst of the extreme violence and trauma that our Delaware community has seen this week. With collective community input, we will develop a more holistic Action Plan for Peace that includes our work against the Death Penalty. Sunday’s action forum invites a present, hurting community, complete with raw wounds and complex emotional experiences in a holistic and inclusive plan. We urge you to come prepared to think radically about how we address the extraordinary amount of trauma as a result of violence and the intersectionality of our holistic movement toward a true culture of peace in Delaware.

Sunday, April 30 – 3:00 to 5:00 – Grace Church – 900 Washington St. 19801
Corner of 9th and West St. – Ample free parking

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Video: Anthony Ray Hinton spent 30 years on death row as an innocent man.

Meet Anthony ‘Ray’ Hinton, a man who spent 30 years on Alabama’s death row. He was released in 2015 after 16 yrs of appeals by the Equal Justice Initiative. Watch him talk about what he lost and why it is crucial to repeal the death penalty.Ray was innocent.  #DeathPenaltyFail explores a very human story of loss, and unpicks the devastating impact that the death penalty can have.

But Ray’s story is not entirely unique, we learn that there are many others who have suffered the consequences of this flawed system.  A total of 156 people have been exonerated from death row in the U.S.  The question is:  How many innocent people have been executed?

Watch Ray’s story on the 5-minute video at this link.

Here at #DeathPenaltyFail, we think that even one mistake is inexcusable. #OneisTooMany.

Director: Bruce Goodison
Executive Producers: Johnny Webb, Dov Freedman & Chandra Jessee

Delaware Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Unconstitutional!

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!