The Delaware House of Representatives passed a bill on that would reinstate the death penalty, reported Jurist. The House voted a 24-16 on House Bill 125, designated the Extreme Crimes Protection Act.
The bill requires juries to unanimously agree that aggravating circumstances in a murder warrant a death sentence. Sponsors of the bill hope that this amendment will address issues raised last year that caused Delaware's capital punishment law to be labeled unconstitutional.
The bill now heads to the Senate.
Last year Delaware’s Supreme Court ruled the death penalty law gave judges, rather than juries, too great a role in imposing death sentences, violating constitutional requirements laid out by the United States Supreme Court.
The Delaware legislature came close to abolishing the death penalty as well, but the debate was put on hold to await the ruling by the state’s highest court.
At the time, Eric M. Freedman, an expert on capital punishment at Hofstra University’s law school told the New York Times, “This probably means, as a practical matter, the end of the death penalty in Delaware.”
I guess he underestimated the political will of the legislature to be viewed as tough on crime.
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