Delaware Public Media

State Supreme Court overturns past death penalty convictions

Dec 15, 2016

The 12 men on Delaware’s death row will not be executed Instead, they’ll get life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Delaware Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that the state cannot go through with executing those on death row after they previously struck down the state’s capital punishment system.

 

Justices came to that decision in August after the U.S. Supreme Court said any death sentence must be fully in the hands of the jury.

 

Delaware’s system gave the final say to the presiding judge who weighed any mitigating or aggravating factors in the case after a jury’s vote.

 

The opinion came just over a week after justices heard the case in Dover, with some openly questioning the state’s argument to move ahead with these executions during the hearing.

 

Some state lawmakers are vowing to reinstate the death penalty during the next General Assembly, but it’s not clear if they have enough support to push such a measure through.

 

Governor-elect John Carney said he would “probably” veto such a bill if it got to his desk.

 

The state Department of Justice didn't immediately return a request for comment.