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Delaware House votes to reinstate death penalty

[JURIST] The Delaware House of Representatives [official website] passed a bill [text] on Tuesday that would reinstate the death penalty. The House voted a 24-16 on House Bill 125, designated the Extreme Crimes Protection Act [text]. The bill requires juries to unanimously agree that aggravating circumstances in a murder warrant a death sentence. Sponsors of the bill hope that this amendment will address issues raised last year that caused Delaware's capital punishment law to be labeled unconstitutional [advocacy press release]. The bill now heads to the Senate.

The death penalty continues to be a point of contention across the United States. In April Amnesty International released an annual report [text, PDF] revealing the US to not be among the world's top five executioners since 2006. However, in March the Mississippi house approved a bill [JURIST report] allowing firing squad executions. In January the US Supreme Court refused to consider [JURIST report] a challenge to Alabama's death penalty system. That same month, Ohio's lethal injection protocol was deemed [JURIST report] unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. In April the Texas Department of Criminal Justice [official website] sued [JURIST report] the Food and Drug Administration [official website] for banning a shipment of lethal injection drugs to prison officials.

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