"DELAWARE: Senate to vote today on repealing death penalty," is the AP report, via Delmarva Now.
The state Senate is set to vote on a bill repealing Delaware's death penalty and sparing 17 killers already on death row.
The measure cleared a Senate committee last week and was scheduled for a vote by the full Senate on Tuesday.
Supporters of the bill argue that the death penalty is morally wrong, racially discriminatory, ineffective as a deterrent to violent crime and far more costly than putting killers in prison for life. They also point to cases in other states where condemned killers have later been exonerated.
The Cape Gazette reports, "Senate to consider SB 19, March 26," by Kara Nuzback.
Senate Bill 19 would remove all language related to execution from the Delaware code, ending the death penalty statewide. Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole would become the ultimate punishment for first-degree murder.
The Senate Executive Committee voted 4-2 to release the bill to the Senate floor, March 20, after two hours of testimony mostly in favor of repeal. Three of the six committee members – Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson, R-Milford; Senate Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East; and Sen. Harris McDowell, D-Wilmington North – are sponsors of the bill.
SB 19 has a total of 17 bipartisan sponsors.
The Senate is scheduled to consider SB 19 Tuesday, March 26.
There are 21 members in the Delaware Senate.
Today's Wilmington News Journal publishes the OpEd, "Why this police officer wants to end death penalty. It's by James Abbott, West Orange, N.J. police chief, who served on the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission. Here'a an extended excerpt from the beginning:
In 2007, New Jersey’s legislature and governor replaced the death penalty with a sentence of life in prison without parole. No state had legislatively abolished its death penalty in more than 40 years, but since then New Mexico, Illinois and Connecticut followed suit. Our close neighbor Maryland just passed legislation to abandon its death penalty. Now I hear that Delaware is considering a bill to end capital punishment as well.
I want to share the view from where I sit: I am the police chief of West Orange, N.J., an older suburban town adjacent to Newark, where we see our share of violent crime. I am a proud Republican who has long supported the death penalty.
I have dedicated my life to protecting the public and making our streets safer. And I put my life on the line every time I go to work. Believe me, sympathy for killers is nowhere in my vocabulary.
In 2006, the New Jersey Legislature set up a study commission to decide what to do with the death penalty. The capital punishment system was broken; some people wanted to fix it, while others wanted to abolish it.
I was asked to join the commission and help decide what to do. I pledged to keep an open mind, but I always supported the death penalty, and I didn’t expect that to change. If there were fixes we could recommend to make it work better, I figured I could support that.
I was wrong.
I no longer believe you can fix the death penalty. Six months of study opened my eyes to its shocking reality. I learned that the death penalty throws millions of dollars down the drain – money that I could be putting directly to work fighting crime every day – while dragging victims’ families through a long and torturous process that only exacerbates their pain.
I want to share what I learned from the families whose loved ones were lost, because I believe their untold stories are the shameful, hidden secret of the death penalty.