The death penalty is the ultimate denial of civil liberties. Well over 15,000 Americans have been executed since the inception of the death penalty dating back to colonial times.
The U.S. remains the only advanced Western democracy that fails to recognize capital punishment as a profound human rights violation and as a frightening abuse of government power.
The death penalty should be repealed because:
- It is unfairly applied and unnecessary to protect society
- It is racist, arbitrary, and does not deter violent crime
- Billions of dollars are spent every year in the U.S. on the failed capital punishment system. This money would be better used to improve public safety, solve cold cases or provide expanded services to families who have lost a loved one to murder.
- Since 1973, more than 138 people have been found innocent of the crime that put them on death row and released.
From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death. For more than 20 years I have endeavored…to develop…rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor…Rather than continue to coddle the court’s delusion that the desired level of fairness has been achieved…I feel…obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed.
-Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, in Callins v. Collins dissent (1994)
The Death Penalty in Delaware
- Even though Delaware is small in size and population, we execute our fellow citizens more frequently than California, the state with the largest death row in the country.
- Per capita, Delaware ranks #5 among states that impose the death sentence and #3 in executions.
- Based on the state’s murder rate, Delaware ranks #3 in executions.
- Convicted accomplices to a murder can be sentenced to death in Delaware even when they have not actually killed anyone.
- Compared to all other states with the death penalty, the Delaware statute governing the death penalty is the broadest. Virtually any murder could be tried as a capital murder here.
- Jury decisions not to impose a death sentence can be overridden by the trial judge.
- There are currently 18 men on death row and an average of 14-18 capital cases in process at any given time throughout the state.
- On July 29, 2011, after a six year hiatus, the State of Delaware resumed the practice of execution when it killed Robert Jackson. Jackson was the 15th man executed in Delaware since 1992. By comparison, Pennsylvania, with a death row of 220, has executed 3 men since 1995.
To join in efforts to repeal the death penalty in Delaware, please visit the Delaware Death Penalty Repeal Project site. DE Repeal is a coalition of organizations, faith communities, and individuals working together to end the death penalty in our State.