In a landmark decision, the Delaware Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s death penalty statute is unconstitutional.
A 148-page opinion released Tuesday afternoon said that the current law is a violation of the Sixth Amendment role of the jury. The decision of whether and how to reinstate the death penalty should now be left to the General Assembly, the opinion said.
The question before the top state court arose after the U.S. Supreme Court found in January that Florida’s death penalty law was unconstitutional because it gave judges – not juries – the final say to impose a death sentence.
Delaware and Alabama are the only other states that allow judges to override a jury’s recommendation of life.