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Delaware Supreme Court to hear death penalty case

Delaware Public Media

The Delaware Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in October on a case that could deal a hefty blow to the state's death penalty law.

Jermaine Wright was convicted of murder in 1991, with state prosecutors relying on a heroin-fueled confession to convict him.

In his 71-page opinion, Superior Court Judge John Parkins Jr. ruled that police had also not sufficiently given Wright his Miranda rights, thereby nullifying his confession.

He was immediately released from a prison near Smyrna after the decision was handed down in February.

Death penalty repeal advocates have held this case up as an example of why capital punishment should be eliminated, while those defending the death penalty say it shows that the system works -- that appeals can ferret out the wronged.

Those repeal efforts have stalled in a House committee for a second straight General Assembly this year, with House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf opposing anyone trying to bring it to the floor. Supporters say overturning the case could give it the edge needed to call for a full vote.

Oral arguments for Wright's case are scheduled for Oct. 28 in Dover.

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