Updated: Delaware Court Mulls Retroactivity of Death Penalty Rul - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Delaware Court Mulls Retroactivity of Death Penalty Ruling

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(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)
Derrick Powell Derrick Powell

DOVER, Del. (AP)- Delaware's Supreme Court justices are mulling whether their ruling declaring the state's death penalty law unconstitutional can be applied retroactively to a dozen men already sentenced to death.
    
The court heard arguments Wednesday in an appeal filed by Derrick Powell, who was sentenced to death in 2011 for killing Georgetown police officer Chad Spicer in 2009.
    
In August, a majority of the Supreme Court justices declared that Delaware's death penalty law was unconstitutional because it allowed judges too much discretion in sentencing and did not require that a jury find unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant deserves execution.
    
Attorney General Matt Denn declined to appeal that ruling in federal court but said he believes that it cannot be applied retroactively to offenders already sentenced to death.

On Wednesday, defense attorney Patrick Collins argued  that the "overwhelming trend in this country is when a statute is found unconstitutional, then states do not continue to carry out executions for those individuals on death row."

Justice Collins J. Seitz, Jr said that "death is different" and asked how justice could ever be served by executing someone under a flawed statute.

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