A bipartisan group of Delaware lawmakers is teaming up to repeal the death penalty, according to The News Journal.
Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson is backing the bill. But significant opposition is expected from the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council and the Delaware State Troopers Association, which say those convicted of killing police officers should face capital punishment.
Gov. Jack Markell would not take a position on the bill when asked recently, unlike his Democratic counterpart in Maryland, Gov. Martin O’Malley, who has lent strong support to the repeal effort in his state.
The arguments for repeal are:
• Capital punishment does not deter violent crime.
• It is costly for the state to defend and prosecute.
• Punishment is morally flawed.
Attorney General Beau Biden has repeatedly sought the death penalty in first-degree murder cases, and appears likely to oppose the repeal effort. Asked for a statement on the bill, Biden said through a spokesman that “my position has not changed,” reported The News Journal.
Since 1992, the state has executed 16 convicted killers, all but one by lethal injection. Billy Bailey, who was convicted of killing an elderly couple in Cheswold, chose to be hanged in January 1996. The latest put to death was Shannon Johnson, who was executed last April for killing Cameron Hamlin in 2006.
Seventeen convicted killers sitting on Delaware’s death row, some with convictions dating back more than a decade, would see their sentences commuted if the bill were to pass. They instead would face life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
To read more: http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20130312/NEWS/303110085/Death-penalty-repeal-revs-up-police-groups-voice-opposition?nclick_check=1