[JURIST] The Delaware Senate voted 11-9 Thursday to repeal the death penalty [SB 40 materials]. The legislation is being sponsored by Senator Karen Peterson [official website] and includes an exemption for the 15 inmates currently on Delaware’s death row, who will face death by lethal injection. Delaware is one of 32 states that employ capital punishment [WP backgrounder]. Supporters of the death penalty believe that it is a just penalty for the most detestable of offenses, but detractors say execution is costly, encourages violence against minorities, and violates human rights.
The death penalty and the use of alternative drug protocols in lethal injections remain controversial topics [JURIST archive] in both the US and abroad. In March Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill [JURIST report] to restore the firing squad as a method of execution, making Utah the only US state with such an option. Also in March the Alabama House of Representatives voted to keep execution [JURIST report] drug suppliers’ names secret and to bring back the use of the electric chair when chemical related lethal injection methods are not available. In February US Attorney General Eric Holder voiced his support [JURIST report] for a moratorium on the death penalty pending a decision by the Supreme Court in Glossip v. Gross [SCOTUSblog backgrounder]. The court granted certiorari [order, PDF] in late January to determine the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s three-drug execution protocol.