Death Penalty Supporters Looking for Way Around Road Block - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Death Penalty Supporters Looking for Way Around Road Block

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DOVER, Del.- Supporters of a bill to repeal Delaware's death penalty are looking for a way around a road block to their effort.

The bill stalled in House Judiciary Committee last week. Lawmakers didn't end up voting on the bill when it looked like there weren't enough yes votes.

The committee is meeting again Tuesday about the bill but it appears only to officially vote to table it.

The bill's sponsors say, though, this does not mean the end of their effort.

Given the controversy surrounding the issue, Rep. Darryl Scott, D-Dover, was not surprised death penalty repeal only passed the state Senate by one vote, 11-10, in March.

"And I think it's going to be a very close vote in the House if we can get a full vote."
But a full vote may not happen, with the bill now stalled in committee, though, Scott says there is a way around that. If a majority of representatives (21) want, they can vote to suspend the rules and bring it out of committee and to the full House.

"I believe we have sufficient interest in hearing the bill on the floor," Scott said. "I think we have votes to pass the bill on the floor. We continue to make our case that it should be heard by the entire House and not let six people on the Judiciary Committee decide for 62 of us."

Opinion in the community is split on the issue.

"Sometimes it's needed - depending on what the crime is. So, I'm for the death penalty," Jenari Maeshack, of Dover, said.

"I don't agree with the death penalty," said Annie Thomas, also of Dover. "Say you find someone guilty and put them to death and later you find out their innocent - once they're gone, you can't bring them back.

Scott remains optimistic the bill will eventually pass the house.

"That's my goal. I continue to work every day. There's not a day that goes by that we're not talking about how to secure the votes necessary to pass the bill."

Even if it does pass, Gov. Jack Markell still hasn't signaled how he feels about death penalty repeal - if he would sign the bill.

The sponsors have a lot of time to play with. The bill remains active through the end of next year's legislative session.

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