Death penalty abolition in Delaware

The material and links on this page were designed to be used as an internal resource for our Social Justice team. The content on this page and its sub-pages do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire congregation, nor does it always reflect the stance taken by the United Methodist Church as a whole. We are a church that strives to accept everyone, regardless of social, economic, and political beliefs.

graphic - repeal the death penalty in Delaware“When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?”—Eleanor Roosevelt

“The Church cannot accept retribution or social vengeance as a reason for taking human life.”—Bishop Joe Wilson (retired)

Recently, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled the death penalty “unconstitutional,” primarily because of a judicial due-process anomaly. However, the Delaware state legislature has not yet repealed the law, with respect to capital punishment. Though it hasn’t executed anyone recently, Delaware is currently holding 18 men on death row and ranks third among the 50 states in executions per capita.

The United Methodist Church takes a firm stand when it comes to capital punishment.

What can you do? Take action. Communicate with your state legislators and tell them to support any bill that would repeal the death penalty in Delaware.

Action groups

You can also get involved on a group level by helping one of the following organizations. (Links take you off site.)

DE Repeal
A project of the American Civil Liberties Union, Delaware Repeal is the largest and most active advocacy group that is mobilizing for legislation to abolish the death penalty in Delaware. Support victims, reduce violence, and redirect savings. Contact DE Repeal online to get involved directly, or get in touch with NUMC member Mark Deshon (deshon@udel.edu).

Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty (DCODP)
DCODP is also working to educate the public and fight for removal of the death penalty from Delaware’s statutes. It offers information, news, events, and action alerts.

Witness to Innocence
A national movement led by exonerated death row survivors and their family members, the mission of Witness to Innocence is to abolish the death penalty by empowering exonerated death row survivors and their loved ones to become effective leaders in the abolition movement.

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP)
NCADP’s mission is to abolish the death penalty in the United States and support efforts to abolish the death penalty worldwide. Ninety million Americans believe the death penalty is wrong. NCADP mobilizes them to end the death penalty state by state.

A few facts worth pondering

Points of Understanding (PDF)

  • The U.S. is one of five countries that still allow state-sponsored executions, along with Iran, Iraq, China, and Saudi Arabia.
  • For every nine people executed in this country, one innocent person has been exonerated.
  • A person is more likely to receive a death sentence based on their race, location, or economic status than on the severity of his/her crime.
  • According to 88% of the nation’s leading criminologists, the death penalty does not deter crime. Eight out of the ten states with the highest murder rates are death penalty states.
  • The majority of murder victims in Delaware are African American, yet 70% of the state’s death sentences involved cases in which the murder victim was white.