In a 3-2 decision, the Delaware Supreme Court has ruled the state’s death penalty unconstitutional.
The 98-page opinion from Chief Justice Leo Strine found that certain aspects of Delaware’s statute conflict with a recent U.S. Supreme Court Case striking down Florida’s capital punishment program.
Justice Karen Valihura issued a split opinion, while Justice James T. Vaughn Jr. wrote a dissenting report.
Last year, Delaware’s State Senate voted to replace the death penalty with a sentence of life without parole for the second time in three years. The bill was supported by Governor Jack Markell, despite narrowly failing to get enough votes in the House earlier this year. Given the political obstacles that would have to be overcome to amend the statute, it is unlikely the General Assembly will move to revive the death penalty–rendering the state without a valid death penalty statute, just like New York state. Essentially, the death penalty is done in Delaware.
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To read the DE Supreme Court Opinion, click here.