State Supreme Court to decide death penalty


DOVER — The Supreme Court of Delaware has scheduled oral arguments in the review of the state’s death penalty.

Lawyers will appear before the court June 15 in a debate that could help settle a longstanding debate over capital punishment for convicted killers.

The current question stems from a federal court ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court in January decided part of Florida’s death penalty law violates the Constitution because it allows the judge to sentence death. The court ruled a jury must hold the responsibility for determining aggravating factors.

Delaware’s law is somewhat similar to Florida’s. In the wake of the federal decision, a Superior Court judge requested the state’s top court review the capital punishment statute.

The Public Defender’s Office is arguing against the constitutionality, while the Department of Justice is taking the opposite stance.

The final brief was submitted last week by the Public Defender’s Office.

Future capital cases have been on hold while the issue is up in the air.

Lawmakers have attempted to repeal the death penalty the past four years but have fallen short.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at

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