Delaware won’t appeal Supreme Court ruling against death penalty

(AP Photo/Jon Elswick

(AP Photo/Jon Elswick

Just after the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty is unconstitutional, the Attorney General is chiming in on the matter.

Earlier this month, Delaware’s Supreme Court said the state’s plan for imposing a death sentence violates the 6th Amendment right to a jury trial. The reason is imposed sentences left the final decision of sentencing to the judge, removing it from the jury’s hands.

After reviewing the court’s opinion, Attorney General Matt Denn will not appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the state Department of Justice.

“Litigating and appealing these issues – a process that would likely take years before issues of both federal and state constitutional law were resolved — would likely not only bring about the same result, but would also deny the families of victims sentencing finality,” said DOJ leaders in a written statement.

Denn also added that if the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the opinion on federal Constitutional grounds, then the Delaware Supreme Court would ultimately invalidate the state’s death penalty statute.

The DOJ statement also said, “While the application of the Delaware Supreme Court’s opinion to sentences already imposed will undoubtedly be litigated in Delaware courts, the Delaware Department of Justice does not believe that the Delaware Supreme Court’s opinion applies retroactively.”

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