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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Delaware Supreme Court overturns past death penalty convictions

The 12 men on Delaware’s death row will not be executed. Instead, they’ll get life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Delaware Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that the state cannot go through with executing those on death row after they previously struck down the state’s capital punishment system.

Justices came to that decision in August after the U.S. Supreme Court said any death sentence must be fully in the hands of the jury.

Delaware’s system gave the final say to the presiding judge who weighed any mitigating or aggravating factors in the case after a jury’s vote.

The opinion came just over a week after justices heard the case in Dover, with some openly questioning the state’s argument to move ahead with these executions during the hearing.

Some state lawmakers are vowing to reinstate the death penalty during the next General Assembly, but it’s not clear if they have enough support to push such a measure through.

Governor-elect John Carney said he would “probably” veto such a bill if it got to his desk.

The state Department of Justice didn't immediately return a request for comment.

Source: Delaware Public Media, James Dawson, December 15, 2016

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