|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 or 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: As recently as 2013, DE was listed as 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 consistent 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.” – Death Penalty Information Center|
|“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.” – Cornell University Law School study of Delaware’s death penalty, 2012.|
Delaware’s death penalty follows national trends. Its administration has been ineffective, applied unfairly, and is too costly. It hasn’t kept us safer, harms victims’ family members, and causes secondary trauma. Read the details under each link.
- Risks Executing an Innocent
- Too Costly
- Doesn’t Keep Us Safer
- Applied Unfairly
- Harms Victims’ Family Members
- Causes Secondary Trauma