State House votes to revive death penalty in Delaware

WDEL | by Staff Writer

A bill regarding the reinstatement of the death penalty in Delaware passed the state House Tuesday by a vote of 24 to 16.

There was one absent vote May 9, 2017.

The bill exited the House Judiciary Committee on May 3 by a vote of 7 to 4.

“Keeping people safe is not the same as ensuring that our laws provide an avenue to satisfy the appetite for vengeance,” said Representative John Kowalko (D-Newark).

Some critics of the bill have said House Republicans are wrongfully using Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard’s death as ammunition for a political movement, while others on Tuesday pointed out that the bill in no way addresses what they called unjust racial bias, or the morality of declaring a state government has a right to take a life.

“In this vote, you are affirmatively voting to kill people in the state of Delaware,” said Representative Sean Lynn (D-Dover).

Under the bill, jurors would have to find unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant should be executed. A judge would have to agree with the jury for the death penalty to be imposed, but would have the discretion to sentence a defendant to life in prison.

The Delaware Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional in 2016.

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