Progress is being made toward eliminating the death penalty in Delaware, as last week State Senator Karen Peterson introduced a bill to repeal the death penalty and replace the punishment with life without parole.

Peterson shared, “I don’t think the state should be in the business of killing people. It just is so bizarre to me that we would say to somebody that what you did was so horrible, that now we’re going to do it.” 

The bill is also supported by Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson (R). In addition to eliminating the death penalty in the state, the bill would replace existing death penalty sentences with life without parole. Governor Jack Markell has not taken a position on the issue and has said, “I have an open mind.”

The bill was scheduled to be brought to the Senate Executive Committee todayDelaware has carried out 16 executions since 1992, the most recent of which was executed in April 2012. Seventeen people currently sit on death row in Delaware.

UPDATE 3/20/13: The bill has cleared a Senate Committee and is heading to the full Senate for a vote.

Information from J. Starkey, “Death Penalty Repeal Revs Up As Police Groups Voice Opposition,” News Journal, March 12, 2013. Read the article here.

One of the cornerstones of the TLC curriculum, we offer a Death Penalty Seminar open to trial lawyers, investigators and mitigation specialists. At the seminar, we strive to walk in the shoes of our clients and to understand the impact of the crime on all the people touched by the tragedy. We bring together teams to discover the story of the client; we work on direct examination of the family of the accused and the experts presented in the mitigation stage; we look at jury selection and how to seat a jury that can hear the evidence that justifies life. This continuing law education program will focus on and address techniques the trial lawyer can use to successfully and adequately represent and understand a defendant facing the death penalty and to defeat death. For more information on the seminar and to apply, please visit http://www.triallawyerscollege.org/Courses.aspx. Application deadline is April 26, 2013.