After almost three years without the death penalty since the Delaware Supreme Court declared the Delaware statute unconstitutional in 2016, several lawmakers are proposing again to reinstate the death penalty [link to article]. Please call your state legislators and urge them to oppose the death penalty reinstatement bill (bill number not yet assigned). To locate your legislators’ contact information, go to Who Is My Legislator? on the Delaware General Assembly website.
House Bill 125, the bill proposing to reinstate Delaware’s death penalty statute, died in June 2018 at the end of the Delaware General Assembly’s 149th Legislative Session. The House had passed HB 125, but the bill remained in the Senate Judiciary Committee when the session ended. The next two year General Assembly Session, General Assembly 150, will begin in January 2019. Any legislation related to the death penalty in Delaware would have to be introduced as a brand new bill.
Thank you to all who worked so hard to keep Delaware free of the death penalty!
Greetings all Death Penalty Abolitionists in the State of Delaware:
On Tuesday, May 9, 2017 you are needed at Legislative Hall, 411 Legislative Ave, Dover DE. House Bill 125 will be brought before the full House for a vote. Our purpose on Tuesday is to present a massive presence in the halls, offices of legislators and in the General Assembly chamber.
There will be no testimony from the public. Please call your Representative.
Please be in attendance in the building wearing either “red” or buttons or other ways to message that you are opposed to reinstatement of the death penalty. Make every attempt to meet with your Representative. Posters and signs are not permitted in the building. Bring photo i.d., which you will need to get in.
Most of these sessions start around 1:00 pm. but no exact time has been announced. If we hear something more specific we will post.
It was obvious that the House Judiciary Committee had no interest in the public testimony last Wednesday.
This is an opportunity for the OPPOSITION to be noticed.
With much gratitude for your ongoing efforts and support.
Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty
The outcome of the House Judiciary Committee Hearing on HB 125 to reinstate Delaware’s death penalty was not good. The bill was released from Committee 7 votes to 4. Please call your House Representatives ASAP and urge them to vote NO on HB 125. The Bill is on the Agenda for the full House tomorrow 5/4/17.
Thank you so much to all who attended and to all who testified! Thank you to Movement for a Culture of Peace, the League of Women Voters, Delaware United, the Unitarian Universalist Church, Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation, Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow, the Delaware Center for Justice, the ACLU, the Delaware Green Party, and the folks from Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty! (Sorry if I’m forgetting some.) Our arguments against the bill were clear, coherent, diverse, and fact-based.
Special thanks to Rep. Sean Lynn who made a valiant showing of persuasive, rational argument. Thanks also to Reps. JJ Johnson, Gerald Brady, and Charles Potter for standing strong and voting to table the Bill. Sadly, the other 7 members voted the Bill out of Committee. We were operating at a distinct disadvantage as emotions were running high after the recent deaths of Cpl. Ballard and Lt. Floyd. The very moving annual Delaware Law Enforcement Officers Memorial was held at Legislative Hall earlier in the afternoon and many legislators on the committee attended.
House Bill 125 “The Extreme Crimes Protection Act” is scheduled for a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee in the House chamber next Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 2:30 p. m. in Legislative Hall in Dover.
You have a chance to testify against this bill that plans to bring back Delaware’s ineffective, unjust, and biased death penalty. To testify, prepare a 2 minute (about 250) word statement. Plan to arrive early to add your name to the sign-in list. If you want to elaborate beyond the two minutes you may submit further remarks in writing, but they are likely to limit spoken testimony to 2 minutes. For talking points, check out our links: Why Keep Delaware Death Penalty Free and Resource Links.
Please keep in mind that the Law Enforcement Memorial Service is set for noon on that same day. Since the murder last week of Cpl Stephen Ballard, emotions will be running very high, especially among the law enforcement community. Please be respectful.
We encourage everyone to attend, to testify, and to publicize this opportunity to participate in the legislative process.
Please call your State Representatives as well as members of the House Judiciary Committee. Calls on any day are important, but calls on May 2nd, 3rd, and 4th are likely to have the most impact. You can identify your State Rep. by going to the General Assembly website and using the Who is My Legislator tool. You can reach any legislator by calling the general number at (302) 744-4114. Urge them to prevent the return of Delaware’s death penalty.
Thank you for your dedication and work to Keep Delaware Death Penalty Free.
Action Forum to Stop HB 125
Sunday, April 30 – 3:00 to 5:00 pm
Grace United Methodist Church
The event is free and open to the public
Movement for a Culture of Peace (MCP) is teaming up with Delaware Citizens Against the Death Penalty (DCODP) and other groups to take action to defeat HB 125, which seeks to restore capital punishment in the First State. Delaware’s former death penalty statute was declared unconstitutional last year by the state supreme court. To read the full text of HB 125, click here.
We need to act now to stop HB 125, which is currently in the House Judiciary Committee. The hearing for the bill is expected to be in early May. After opening remarks from civil rights attorney Jeremy Collins and Kristin Froehlich, vice president of DCODP, we’ll get to work writing letters, making posters, and preparing to rally against capital punishment at Legislative Hall. Persons interested in testifying against the bill may receive training and tips on how to be most effective. We are most powerful and persuasive when we work together.
>Please help us publicize by printing and distributing our poster and mentioning this meeting on social media. You will find various versions of this graphic on the Movement for a Culture of Peace Resources Page.
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.”|
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.
Sen. Karen Peterson, D-Stanton, and Rep. Sean Lynn, D-Dover, are suspending further legislative action on Senate Bill 40 – the death penalty repeal bill – due to the constitutional review of Delaware’s capital punishment statute by the Delaware Supreme Court.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has put the legitimacy of Delaware’s death penalty statute into question with its decision in Hurst v. Florida and Superior Court President Judge Jan Jurden has issued a temporary stay of all capital murder trials and executions,” Peterson said. “It only makes sense for the General Assembly to wait for the Delaware high court to rule before we decide on further action.”
To read the full article, click here.